Now let me start this off by saying this, gaming is something that I hold very close to my heart and still do, I have visited worlds that are beyond incredible, met characters that I call my friends even though they are pieces of code and it didn’t stop even when I went to sleep.
I dreamed about being sucked into the game like Jeff Bridges in Tron and just being able to hold things in my hands and be able to feel it and smell it on top of seeing what I was holding, now before you begin to panic over my vivid dreams I shall explain why I am writing this .
Recently I have become addicted to an anime series called Sword Art Online and if you have not heard of this series before; the series takes place in the year 2022 and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds which a player can access with the use of Nerve Gear (a fictional virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain) so players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.
Now the whole controlling your character with your mind concept sounded extremely cool and it made me wonder what gaming could be like decades from now, I was excited because of all the potential of “VR gaming” despite not having that level of technology available in 2014 but would you believe me if I told you it is in fact possible to a extent with current technology and that developers have toying around with the idea of VR gaming since the 90’s.
I did some googling and came across a failed Nintendo console called the “Virtual Boy” which was developed in 1995 and from what I can tell, it was a early attempt at full immersion gaming which for the 90’s would have been quite an achievement but it failed in many areas due to limitations of the decade and it was cast aside and forgotten about while Nintendo repaired the damage with the N64.
The Virtual Boy was not a failure in my eyes but a path to innovation so fast forward 20 years later and the Oculus Rift and Sony’s shows up and it is remarkably similar to the virtual boy but obviously way more advanced, now what can the Oculus Rift bring to the table in this day and age when everybody has a PC mouse, PS4 or Xbox One controller in their hands and considering that the company has been bought out by the social media giant that is Facebook.
However Facebook are not the only ones who sees potential with virtual reality, right after the Oculus buyout, Sony unveiled their own VR headset code named “Morpheus” which if you are a fan of The Matrix movies than that name would be quite familiar to some of you.
Now I have run into people who are against the idea of VR gaming because “it isn’t the way games are meant to be played” and honestly this is perhaps the most stupid thing I have ever heard, it would be cool if we as gamers had a bit more immersion with our games other than moving sticks and pressing buttons, I thought Nintendo’s Wii console was weird at first but they made something innovative that changed the gaming landscape so why can’t the same be done with “virtual reality” gaming.
The Oculus Rift and Sony’s VR headset can offer more immersion than a normal TV screen or monitor can because it is a headset and I think with time and determination Sony and Facebook could possibly make their headsets into more than headsets, they could evolve into a fully fledged consoles in their own right and bring their own edge to the gaming world, I honestly see a lot of potential for the Sony’s headset and the Oculus Rift especially if both were to team up with similar gadgets.
I stumbled across full body motion tracking technology called PrioVR while researching similar technologies and this is something that could change gaming forever.
The suit technology turns every body movement from the user into in game movement such as walking, crouching and side stepping while also giving the user two hand controllers that let you fire, aim and walk through large worlds without walking in real life so you still have your body to perform other actions, while it may not be Sword Art Online level immersion it is a step in the right direction.
Now I would like to see more developers take a chance on the Oculus Rift and help improve and add to the technology because it could have many applications outside of gaming and so on.
The gaming world ignored VR technology during the 90’s and have only started to see it’s potential now but there is hope so who knows, maybe in 2020 we might be putting on our Morpheus/Rift headsets and PrioVR suits to play Call of Duty or something completely different.
New technologies have so many possibilities that could be explored in the near future regardless it be gaming related or not, imagine what “virtual reality” could do for educational purposes, geography students could explore the world with the use of VR technology and visit places like Rome without leaving their classroom, doctors could have a much greater understanding of the human body with such a tool.
The potential is limitless so I simply cannot wait to see what happens in the future for Sony’s headset and the Oculus Rift system, if it is successful it could innovate and change the way the world learns and so on.