Virtual Reality is one of those things. To begin with the technology emerges with loads of hype and really cumbersome headsets. Then the technology gets cut down so that we can envisage using the thing. Then things go a bit quiet and we file Virtual Reality under ‘Games’ and ‘Kids’ and ‘not that important in the grand scheme of things’.
Then we begin to see applications emerge in the enterprise sector. We see the potential for training in treacherous seas and treacherous skies.
Then the annual CES shows get more and more excited about Virtual Reality. Last year you couldn’t move without bumping into someone waving their arms around while wearing some matt black headset. Mobile World Congress joined in and even our esteemed colleague John Tanner changed his profile to one of him wearing a headset.
At some point, you can’t help feeling, the age of Virtual Reality must arrive.
We may not be quite there, but there is a definite feeling that we are accelerating onto the ‘on ramp’.
Because Marc Andreesen says so. In fact, in a recent podcast he says that ‘the world will open up around us’ and that ‘Virtual Reality will be 1,000 times bigger than Augmented Reality’.
The other factor is that the technology is rapidly becoming less like technology and more like stuff you can use without feeling nauseous. A Digital Trends reporter, one who was annoyed by the wires and the fuss and the need to create a Virtual Reality den is now on the verge of becoming a convert. Talking about the new Oculus Quest (Andreesen holds a stake in Oculus) the reporter confesses that it is ‘portable, user-friendly and more affordable than its older brother and … it could be the mid-range headset that fully converts me to a VR fanatic’.
Apart from the wires and other wizardry that is needed, many believe that 5G will unlock the magic of Virtual Reality and many other wonderful things. This may be true but, as Wired says of 5G at CES, ‘Want the super-fast speeds of 5G? Come back in a year’.
While Virtual and Augmented Reality might have spent a while in the depths of disillusionment maybe the next year will see them on the way to the plateau of enlightment.
After all, the worlds of entertainment and education are waiting with their arms wide open.