Starting with its first incarnation in the 1800’s, Virtual Reality has gone through as many phases as a growing child. Since the invention of the modest stereoscope, followed by the practical application of flight simulation for pilots-in-training in 1929, interest in VR has continued to dip and soar. Once Neo found himself in the alternate world of the Matrix in the 1990’s, a passion for the sport of game playing that provides a heightened experiential journey instantly rebooted the field of VR development.
Let the games begin
The public mainly started playing in the Virtual Reality space inside arcades. The experience of “being there” caught fire and has led to growing excitement about the future of VR in the world of gaming. Companies like Owlchemy Labs of Austin Texas, jumped onboard and its first VR game, Job Simulator, was so successful in its opening year that it caught the eye of Google, who has since acquired the company, proving how much belief there is in the medium. Owlchemy has since produced a VR game based on the popular show Rick and Morty, expanding the VR gaming experience even further into the mainstream. Other companies have jumped into the VR gaming universe, like Niantic (a Google startup), developing another instantly successful game, Pokeman Go. Innovations in the industry of gaming are everywhere, with imaginative systems like Nintendo Switch which, although it doesn’t allow for virtual play, makes it possible for players to take their games virtually anywhere.
The reality is there is so much more to VR
Beyond the fun element, the reality is that VR technology is allowing many industries to experience business growth and taking them to places they haven’t been before. Training for the armed services, placing military personnel in virtual situations where they can learn skills in a safe but realistic setting, is proving invaluable. Surgeons are now able to hone their skills, practicing delicate procedures in the VR space before performing on real patients; minimizing risk while refining the surgeries themselves.
And then there’s sports.
Taking interactive home consoles such as the Nintendo Wii to the next level, companies like STRIVR provide professional athletes with a new way to improve their game. Football players, golfers and Olympic level skiers are crediting their improved performance on the ability to virtually repeat and refine their moves with this form of practice. VR programs are also helping racecar drivers feel what its like to move around a track for greater control, batters to practice their swing and boxers to improve the arc and power of their punch.
The virtual reality industry may have had a slow start but continues to capture the imagination of developers in every industry with very forward-thinking ideas. With all the twists and turns VR technology has taken over the years, it’s clear to see the road ahead has no foreseeable end in sight.