Though virtual reality technology has been with us since the late ‘30s (and dreams of it have been around for much longer), 2016 is the year virtual reality (VR) goes mainstream.
And with so much VR news coming out of Mobile World Congress we thought we’d give you the skinny on VR and why it’s a big deal.
Though Netflix have adopted a wait-and-see attitude towards VR, opting to focus on 4K and HDR support, they “do want to watch how great storytellers use this technology.”
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is great storytelling of a different stripe, and now you can experience those “stories” like you’re really there.
More and more media is going to be made available in VR, such as Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Eden, but the real test as always is porn.
Where’s the porn virtual reality? It’s already here.
There’s even a studio producing porn exclusively for VR. They’ve recorded almost 100 scenes so far, and at their current recording speed of two a week, they’ll soon leave 100 behind. And it’s full VR, you get a 360 degrees field of view. But we’re guessing you’re not watching porn for the soft furnishings.
Porn in itself is not the reason VR is a big deal. The reason it’s a big deal is whenever a technology reaches porn, it goes big. The economist Alex Tabarrok says, “Porn has driven many new technologies including the book (google ‘I, Modi’), the novel, VHS tapes, digital cameras and the internet.”
On a live chat, Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’ve been thinking about when my daughter takes her first steps, how I want to capture it.”
Zuckerberg compared the way he’ll record his daughters first steps with the way his parents recorded his first steps, they “wrote it in a book with a pen,” the way his cousins recorded their child’s first steps, “she took a picture with a camera,” and his older sister’s son’s first steps, “she took a video on her smartphone.”
He not only sees VR as “the next generation of imaging.” He went on to say that VR will “not only being able to capture real things in a much more visceral way, but being able to construct different things that wouldn’t be possible.”
Dreams will become reality. And reality will become dreams. And that’s both exciting and scary to think about.
The market for VR games is about to explode, thanks to all of the VR gaming platforms debuting this year. Oculus Rift and Gear VR, HTC Vive and Playstation VR headset all come out this year. And the games won’t be re-tooled versions of old games. They’ll be tailor-made for the platforms, to squeeze every ounce of gameplay out of them.
We are witnessing the big bang of VR games. Ok, only a handful of games have been unveiled for Playstation VR. But HTC Vive enjoys the support of Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam, and quick search tells us that 51 games are on the way (a few, in fact, are already here). Oculus has promised “more than 100 titles available by end of 2016,” notably Minecraft! That’ll get the kids excited about VR (if they weren’t already).
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are available for preorder, but the preorder countries doesn’t include Malaysia. Looks like we’ll have to wait until they’re in stores.
Virtual reality can make better magazines, better video games, and better porn. But can it make us better people? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!
Virtual reality is an empathy machine. It can stick you in the middle of a terrorist attack or a protest. It can put you in the shoes of the victim of a crime, or the perpetrator. Most people are lucky to not have to experience a terrorist attack. But if we had that option, would we be nicer to other cars on the road? Would we hold the door open for strangers?
Changing our behaviors is one of the most exciting applications of virtual reality, because it isn’t about creating a new and fantastic world to explore when you put on a headset. It’s about creating a better world offline, when you take the headset off.