Daniel Wilks looks beyond the game
Because of the way my eyes work, or to be precise, due to the way my eyes don’t work, VR (or really anything that fakes 3D in some manner, making going to the movies nowadays a real crapshoot) is very difficult for me. Any movement that causes me to change focal depth quickly in VR causes serious eye strain and plays havoc on my balance and ability to keep down my lunch. As such, for the most part VR gaming is not something that I am too enthused about, but that doesn‘t mean that I’m not excited about VR in other avenues.
What excites me most about VR is the potential to experience things that I may never get a chance to see in real life. Imagine a VR tour of an otherwise closed archaeological dig, or the inside of a space shuttle, or hell, even a VR experience of a NASA launch. Sure, you wouldn’t get the force of gravity pushing you back into your seat as the massive thrust takes you outside the atmosphere, but just seeing it through the eyes of an astronaut would be amazing enough. Imagine being able to go to any museum in the world and being able to look at the exhibits not as a visitor but as a curator, up close and personal, hands on without the actual physical sensation.
It’s these experiences, rather than gaming, that make me look forward to VR becoming commonplace, and due to the nature of these experiences being more tailored to the passive than the interactive, of all thing it’s mobile VR, like Samsung Gear, that excites me the most. There are no wires to get stuck in and the price point is much lower than any other VR format, with most modern smart phones capable of running VR apps and there are literally hundreds of different enclosures (look at GearBest or any other giant Chinese shop if you don’t believe me) available to fit nearly any sized handset. Simply playing VR footage is a lot less processor intensive than any game, so the barrier for entry should be – relatively speaking – quite low.
Mobile VR also has something else going for it that gives it a leg up as far as potential goes. Any phone capable of running VR will also feature a decent camera, making mobile AR all but a certainty. Maybe it’s just my love of cyberpunk (the Talsorian RPG as well as the SF genre), but the potential to have a real time HUD strapped to my head is far too appealing to pass up. Of course, there are numerous, arguably better applications for mobile AR as well. Going back to the museum tours I was talking about earlier, imagine having extra information pop up depending on what you look at and where you direct your gaze, or an RPG that takes place in the real world and used pattern and colour recognition from the background to generate encounters and events. So many possibilities.