With the end of 2019 comes the end of a decade, representing a new and exciting chapter for the world of virtual reality (VR). While VR was initially thought to be a flop following an initial burst of excitement, it has proved critics wrong; it now sits as one of the most domineering – and most promising – aspects of development in technology. Admittedly, it isn’t yet a mainstream market for consumers – however, as evidence of its reliability increases, so undoubtedly too will the investments by businesses and buyers alike. With this in mind, it’s time to read all about the predictions surrounding VR as a new year (and decade!) gets underway.

8k resolution

Heavy punching companies such as Apple are all developing groundbreaking new VR headsets that promise crystal-clear 8k clarity in both eyes. For the VR headsets that are used for gaming, this promises a whole new level of immersion that was perhaps previously unimaginable even a mere decade ago.

Introduction into a mainstream market

VR headsets have yet to be introduced into the mainstream market, and currently, exist usually as playthings for those with expendable money. However, as more and more companies see the potential that VR headsets are bringing to a multitude of hobbies and industries, this could change. One notable company doing this is Facebook, who have already invested in the technology.

Common integration into the classroom

For the more upscale schools, VR headsets could be integrated into lessons in order to provide a fun, immersive and yet ultimately informative environment. While it won’t be replacing normal teaching styles just yet, it could be a great investment by schools that want to vary their lesson plans and keep restless children on their toes.

Social aspects are yet to be uncovered

For the most part, thus far, VR and the use of VR headsets have been a standard, exclusionary event – only one person can wear a VR headset at one time and, while others can laugh at how the wearer looks during gameplay, they can’t really get involved to the same degree. However, if VR headsets indeed become more mainstream, so too could the introduction of social media exclusively for VR headsets. We could see the next big social channel, replacing Facebook or Twitter. It may not be a vision that the 2020 deadline can adhere to, but it’s definitely a future possibility, and that’s incredibly exciting.

Really? A VR Treadmill?

If the concept of using a controller to move in VR seems a little out-of-date, VR treadmills could be precisely what you’re after. They are appearing on the market, and they are compact, Omni-directional pieces of hardware that look like something out of a sci-fi movie, offering compatibility with most major VR platforms. Essentially, they combine a square walking platform with rotating back support, and they use those things alongside various sensors to track a players orientation and locomotion. The surface is shock-absorbing, meaning players can easily walk, run, crouch and lean during gameplay.

Still evolving

This type of technology has been in development for some years, but current generations are more compact and lightweight than their predecessors. This is helping bring down the price tag and also make them more practical for use in the home. Despite coming in smaller sizes, the latest models are full of state-of-the-art technology, including contactless sensors to accurately track foot location and almost zero latency.

Compatibility is also getting quite impressive, with a wide range of the most popular VR systems supporting these VR treadmill units. This is because the makers of the treadmills design them to be easily supported by other hardware, with open SDK offered to enable developers to integrate support.

Challenges for the market

The main question marks in the current market are pricing and availability. The larger, heavier treadmills of previous years were not really accessible to anyone but the wealthiest among us, but for the creators of the technology to grow they need to widen their market. There are promises that current and future technology will be affordable for the average consumer, which is an exciting prospect for the next generation of gaming.

A long-awaited reality

The idea of VR treadmills has been something in the realm of science fiction for decades, so it is exciting to see it finally becoming a reality. Gaming is one of the sectors that consistently thrive from one generation to the next, so the demand for ever-evolving tech is always high. Expect to see VR treadmills penetrate the mainstream more as the VR gaming market evolves – this is definitely something to be excited about.

Photo: Virtuix Omni VR treadmill by pestoverde licensed under Creative Commons 4.0
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