Virtual Reality – the concept of a computer simulating an environment that a human can interact with their physical presence has always been a dream for science-fiction enthusiasts. The idea of virtual reality originates in 1860. 360 degree art through panoramic murals began to emerge and gradually over time has sought after in many fields from fine arts, music, therapeutics, army & navy training, music, and gaming. Lately, there are many graphical novels that explore the psychological, and social aspect of Virtual Reality gaming consoles on humans. Sword Art Online, a light short novel written by Reki Kawahara is an example of one that recreates that fantasy and in a very interesting way. The premise is about 10,000 people who end up being trapped in a Virtual Reality game world, and the only way to leave the game is to complete the game.
However, there’s a catch, if they die in the virtual reality game, it means death in the reality world. The virtual reality device in the novel is rather advance and can later stimulate the nerves to understand the user’s feelings and five senses. Today, no such virtual reality gaming console to date exist that can analyze human emotional data and the five sense at that level as far we know. The virtual reality market so far is thin. Most of them are still at a primitive level, and if they were any more advance than the Nintendo Wii, they would be quite pricey and not affordable to the average consumer.
However, at the rapid rate on which technology is advancing, perhaps we will reach that level of Virtual Reality that Sword Art Online portrays in the not so distant future. The Oculus Rift VR is currently being developed by Oculus. This device is a prime example of a starting point in that direction. Oculus, the company that is creating the console has a vision of creating an Immersive virtual reality technology that is wearable and affordable.
Interestingly, Oculus is just a fresh starting company. Due to the fact that the product is still being in development, the details are still being worked out. However from what we know so far, it’s compatible with the PC only, and a great possibility of moving into console such as PS3, and Xbox 360. However, their website did not state whether or not they will support the next generation Sony PS4 or Microsoft
Xbox720 Xbox One. If you’re a developer and if you are interested in supporting virtual reality machine, the developer kit will be available for preorder in May of 2013. The dev device is quite interesting as the display is a 720p resolution display, and allows one to play a few games to show off its power.
Games such as Team Fortress 2 and, Hawken are currently ones available. Pre-order for the dev kit cost 300 USD. Oculus recommends that unless you’re a developer you shouldn’t buy the kit at this stage, as the consumer version specifications can be totally different. Regardless, this is great news for those Virtual Reality enthusiasts who are looking for an affordable Virtual reality machine–Oculus Rift VR is currently in development just for them. Although the Occulus Rift VR might not be impressive as the Virtual Reality Machine found in Sword Art online, the point is that Oculus VR is the starting point of the evolution of Virtual Reality.
It serve as a breeding ground for other competitors to rival its performance and innovate further; thus, if the demand is right, this will kick start the virtual reality market. Furthermore, since computers are aggressively becoming more affordable, and powerful, there is much anticipation to utilize that power, and Virtual Reality is certainly a great niche– as there are many industries to apply it to. As virtual reality technology advances to the next level, developers will be able to recreate reality–dipping the user into a variety of life-like scenarios from life-like fantasies to hardcore nightmares. This may lead to many social to psychological discoveries not seen today as gaming is not that deep. So the question is, could you imagine what it would be like to live a virtual world no different than reality?