Just a few years ago, some serious money was being invested in virtual reality (VR). In 2016, the venture capital of the industry raised around $900 million, but in 2018 the investments fell down to $280 million. The Facebook-owned company Oculus had plans to deliver 1 billion visors, but has sold just 300,000 since last year. Investments, research and VR products around the world, such as Google Spotlight and CCP Games, have been significantly scaled back, shut down or converted to new projects.
Given these characteristics, virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize – in the truest sense of the word – several areas of entertainment, manufacturing and commerce. The launch of PlayStation VR, for example, provides a glimpse of how VR visors can “impact” the gaming industry by providing a totally new gaming experience than before. Other companies, like parimatch company, support the advancement and research in the field in order to foster users’ experience.
VR gadgets and physical discomfort
Virtual reality is essentially developed from the combination of electronic hardware and software devices. Digital spaces accessible thanks to VR visors and a series of certain accessories (joypads, gloves, shoes, etc.), created with the aim of making users interact with the virtual world in the best possible conditions. The main complaints denounce expensive, bulky or cumbersome gadgets and poor or repetitious content. One of the main issues it is that VR experiences often provoke discomfort, for example headaches, eye strain, vertigo and nausea.
Developers can partially address these consequences at the hardware level by offering balanced experiences and high frame rates. However, many developers disregard usability guidelines when creating new content, like:
Who suggests that in games the use of induced movements (e.g. jerking), acceleration or ‘false movements’, which are frequently a primary cause of physical distress and motion sickness, should be avoided together.
Lack of creativity
Nausea is not the only critical point. One other issue lies in the fact that, while virtual reality has almost infinite possibilities, many current offerings have grossly deficient in imagination. The prevalent tendency appears the production of VR versions of already existing content, like games, videos or commercials, with a view to providing extra influence. It’s not working, just as radio playback of TV programs would not work.
A great lesson in this regard was left to us by Second Life, the virtual world put on the market in 2003. Some companies out in the real world, such as Toyota and BMW, have set up branches in Second Life, enabling users to try out poorly-programmed copies of their virtual cars. They only held out few months. Why should we prefer a mind-numbingvirtual experience over a real adventure? Nobody needs a virtual Toyota. There must be compelling reasons to leave behind the reality experienced by users.
Application fields of virtual reality and the good news
The tourism sector can provide an exciting experience: all you have to do is put on a VR headset to immediately move to a tourist location and visit it before you even set foot there. In this way, people will be able to choose their summer or winter holiday destination with full awareness and avoid unpleasant surprises.
On the other hand, the platforms developed by Nvidia (a chip manufacturer particularly well known for its graphics cards) are intended to boost the use of virtual reality in the workplace. Thanks to 3D rendering software, for example, it will be possible to build and explore virtual buildings and houses, so as to check any design deficits and give the clients the opportunity to “inhabit” them (even if only for a few minutes) before the laying of the first stone. Doctors and surgeons, in their turn, will be able to use VR visors to ‘go over’ the most difficult and insidious steps in surgery.