Virtual reality is still a virtual reality; until all involved aspects evolve accordingly, we should not expect perfection, but we should be rather encouraging and supportive. This wasmade perfectly clear at the CES show in Vegas.
Google Glass has gone into hiding, but theis well designed headsets are not going away. CES 2015, was surelly full of them. Google Glass was to be found for any augmented reality, virtual reality and plain old over-the-head movie-watching opportunity, within the show.
On the other hand, Oculus’ headsets were everywhere in Vegas: not just at its own impressively large booth – this was in fact one of the first times Oculus even had a CES boot – but all over the place, running specific demos and various experiences for everyone that showed some interest in VR. For that reason virtual reality gained this reputation as the front-runner in the new Future of Headsets. The deeper causality for this, however is that good, immersive augmented reality seems to be even harder to achieve than VR.
Sitting up in your room with a Gear VR headset on andplaying the image of an aquarium surely is overwhelming. One could fall asleep in a chair, in VR, much more easily than in real life. Next step will surely be the AR, where you could actually touch those fish and chase them around.
Regarding Crescent Bay, Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus, said that it was harder to appreciate fully, however, positional, truly virtual 3D audio was as immpressive for him as the visuals. The goal of VR, at this moment is to impress both senses, at the same time.
But what about the other senses, like touch, for example? VR is like space: you can maybe “feel” something with force feedback, but the actual weight of heft of objects isn’t possible yet. It might not be for a while, unfortunatelly.
Samsung and Oculus both are admiting that VR is still several years away from the point of true consumer-ready status. For many reasons that is. VR needs great applications. VR needs better hardware and better developed inputs. VR needs better displays. And, VR needs some level of cross-compatibility across ecosystems.
Virtual reality is still a virtual reality
In 2015, virtual reality is really just getting started. The Sundance Film Festival will be showcasing VR films as new forms of expression. The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift both were highlits of last year, is bound to be a place where more surprises are waiting. Will Samsung announce more phones working with the Gear VR platform at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? It feels highly possible. Will Google follow up on last year’s Cardboard surprise at its developer conference in June? Now that Facebook owns Oculus, I’d say most definitely, as recent updates suggest.