Despite not making the splash that many had expected in 2016, virtual reality (VR) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The technology is increasing in popularity, and as prices drop while software keeps improving, that’s a trend that will likely continue. If there were two criticisms that could be leveled at VR, it was that the cost of entry was incredibly expensive and that there were a lack of key titles to justify the expense. But it’s clear that these are problems that will be solved soon enough after getting a closer look at some of the games on the horizon at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, along with developments for some of the more affordable headsets.
A group of U.S. Army soldiers and Navy sailors assigned to 4th Joint Communication Support Element (Airborne)/ 4 Joint Communication Support, are operating the Dismounted Soldier Training System at Mission Command Training Branch Building, Fort Stewart, April, 2013. This training is helping sailors and soldiers operate using a virtual environment as if they were on a real life mission on a foreign battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Berner/Released)
VR continued to be a high priority at this year’s E3 conference. All of the major video game companies (with the exception of Nintendo) are working on some major titles that should serve to showcase the power and capabilities of VR. Sony has already shown that it’s possible to make AAA VR games with Resident Evil 7, and the upcoming Ace Combat 7 looks like it will be the flight simulator that VR has been waiting for. As more must-play titles are released for VR devices, they will help to drive even more gamers, and casual players, to the headsets.
And these headsets are not only becoming more affordable, but also more powerful. One of the most accessible pathways to VR is through mobile-based headsets, often available for less than $200. The Google Daydream and Samsung VR have been particularly popular in this regard, and their manufacturers are looking to make them even more impressive. In addition to supporting its own Samsung Gear VR, the company’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S8, will be updated to support Google’s Daydream VR in the summer of 2017. On top of this, Samsung is preparing to drastically increase the resolution of the Gear VR to provide an even more immersive VR experience on mobile devices.
As the applications and hardware for VR keep improving, the ability to support the technology is becoming more of a necessity for devices. Improved immersion in technology has also been a driving force in the world of games. The Samsung Gear VR has more than 700 supported apps, and we’re seeing the online gaming industry working to get in on the action, too.
Online casinos have been pushing for a more realistic experience for years through the introduction of live dealer games. These hyper-realistic takes on classic casino games allow players to directly interact with a real-time feed of an actual dealer. This makes the entire process much more immersive and dynamic, and it isn’t just for desktop users. The service has proved so popular that it was adapted for smartphones through mobile apps that use multiple viewpoints and high-definition video streams to enhance the experience. As live dealer options turn into the preferred playing method for many gamers, it won’t be long before these apps are optimized for use with mobile VR, too.
Instead of setting the world on fire, the adoption of VR has been more of a slow burn. Slowly but surely the hardware and software keeps getting better, and with this continued growth, it’s only going to keep getting more popular, especially when it comes to mobile. If you haven’t gotten the fever to try out VR for yourself yet, it’s about to be a whole lot easier.
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