A brief-look at the experience that VR offers
One of the biggest benefits of technological innovation is the ability to give form and existence to ideas that have stoked our collective imaginations from the realms of sci-fi and fantasy. The development of the VR headset is one such development, an apparatus on wearing which one steps into an alternate reality which is virtual but rendered by a simulation that seems “so real” that it gives the oxymoronic term new meaning. The last two years have seen a boom of Virtual reality headsets as every serious player in the IT and Mobility space (from Facebook to Google and Sony, Samsung to HTC) has invested heavily in developing the ideal experience.
What VR offers is incredible potential and a new way for its users to engage and negotiate with mediated content. The ability to provide 360 degree viewing which is synchronized with the user’s movement of the eyes is a technological feat worthy of praise. The immersion and engagement on offer is unparalleled as viewers and users can now truly be part of the world they see. Playing Sony’s DriveClub VR on the PlayStation VR was a surreal experience as everywhere my eyes moved there was gravel and road and the true feeling of being on a race-track. As I drove the car, it seemed not like I was controlling it but that I was actually driving it, the view of the cockpit (a supercar cannot have a mere driver’s seat, it is no less intimidating than a plane’s) was stunningly accurate and in very high detail. The experience was complete as I swerved sharply at 260 miles an hour and felt nauseated, just like the driver of a high-speed car would.
Other games that I have been able to get my hands on such as Eve Valkyrie and Arkham VR have been just as reality defying. Flying around in the Batwing and gliding across the BatCave made me feel on par with Christian Bale and Ben Affleck when they reprise the role of the caped crusader. VR’s ability to break the fourth wall is transformative to say the least as we stand on the cusp of the rise of an all-encompassing “immersive culture.”
However, the experiences aren’t perfect and the devices not ideal. Early adopters have a lot of problems to deal with as the world must now look at newer ways to harness the technology’s potential along with newer ways to map user inputs. Games cannot be the only thing this technology must be used for.