Virtual Reality, or VR, is generally associated with gaming, but there are those among us who are of the belief that it could well evolve into the next platform for computing to take over the world. Affecting all of our senses, it is likely that it will become a multibillion dollar industry, but whether or not consumers are willing to adopt it will be the teller.
- Future VR as the Next Computing Platform
Most of the attention around VR currently focuses on how it will affect the gaming, filmmaking and other entertainment industries. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, believes that it could well exceed our expectations in all of these categories.
Photographs are richer than text is and, in turn, video provides more depth than photographs can, and so on and so forth until we start getting closer to capturing people’s natural experiences and thought-processes. VR hints at being able to capture moments in our lives in their fullest capacity, and then being able to edit and share these experiences.
- VR Traction Will Take a While
VR is still in the very early stages of development, and it is likely to take some years before it is totally mainstream. Zuckerberg weighs in here, putting the timeframe at between 5 and 10 years.
One could well compare it to the popularity of games like the online slots Canada and the rest of the world now enjoys as a matter of course –we forget how recently these real money games became available online, and must bear in mind that a number of versions came before the state-of-the-art software we now so freely enjoy were widely and freely available.
- VR Offers a Different Way to See the World
Memories would no longer be hazy –recording something as simple as a child’s birthday party would now be able to offer that individual the chance to re-experience every facet of the event exactly as it occurred. You would be able to watch someone dear to you respond in the way you only half-remember, and possibly even taste the meal being served in the VR film you recorded.
- VR Will Eventually Impact All 5 Senses
Currently VR tech is limited to visual and auditory stimulation, but this will doubtlessly be enhanced in the near future. Frank Azor, GM of Dell’s gaming PC manufacturer Alienware, stated in a TIME interview that being able to capture feelings in terms of physical reactions to the temperature, and elements of an event like the smells emanating from a meal or someone’s perfume, the reality aspect of VR will strengthen and the virtual element will fade.
- The Market for Both VR and AR is Potentially Enormous
The VR market was worth almost US$2 billion last year, but that number is expected to exceed US$20 billion by as soon as 2020. These numbers include sales for both software and hardware, and when AR sales are factored in, the total skyrockets even further. It is estimated that the combined VR and AR markets will be worth over US$120 million by the year 2021.