The topic of the day is this: A personal look into Virtual and Augmented Reality. While I have never actually seen, felt, or experienced either of these to date, these new steps in gaming technology have certainly caught my interest.
Watching the world change has always been a past time for everyone, even subconsciously. It is always happening. But it seems so many people, including myself, have been pulled into the lullaby of make-believe. Books, Movies, Video games. We seem to have the desire to leave our daily lives to live the life of others who tend to have much more exciting ones then our own. It’s not a disease that causes us to do that, it’s just human nature. Of course, there are the groups that are all outdoorsy and tend to shy away from any media in order to experience the real world, but they just seem to have more money than me. Well, props to them, I’m not here to slam anyone for what they do, I just like my technology.
Getting back to that; We have found countless ways to make our lives truly awesome. But, in my opinion, nothing stacks up quite as astounding as being able to experience not only what happens in our minds, but in the minds of others: the authors and designers of all materials that help build geeks and nerds.
I am sure plenty of you have spent your fair share in front of a TV or a computer monitor, watching movies, television shows, and countless hours perusing YouTube. Or on the other hand, playing games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, World of Warcraft, or other various games piled up in your Steam Library. But what if you could see it as if through your own eyes, going beyond 3D on a flat screen, and feeling like you are standing in a living environment? Would you say yes to that? Well, I believe most gamers and moviegoers would shout, “Hell Yeah!”
Let’s take a look at what is currently the most well-known examples in Virtual and Augmented Reality:
- Oculus VR – This is a widely known line of products being developed for many games and even applications to watch movies in a better 3D experience than going to the theater. For the past few years, independent buyers, or even contest winners, have been able to gain access to development kits by ordering from the site. Many games already have been adapted for use with their Oculus Rift product, mostly just running on computers, companies have already been tying in their games to work nicely with the Rift, but on the latest game consoles. Currently, you would have several wires hooked up from the device to your computers, but looking at the Consumer Model (due to be released Q1 2016), it seems only one might be needed. Beautiful design, looks comfortable, and you can purchase the Development Kit 2 for just around $350. But the Rift isn’t the only product they have! Take a look at their Samsung Gear VR, built for use with Samsung smart phones GALAXY Note 4, S6, and S6 Edge. It is available for about $200.
- Microsoft HoloLens -Have you seen this thing yet?! Unbelievably awesome! This is the first thing I have seen come along describing holograms, and pulling it off rather well. Developed with the new Windows 10, soon to be released, this is a device in which you can experience holograms right in front of you with the use of the HoloLens glasses. You are able to see around you, and yet also see holograms that were designed to stay in place wherever you have them set. And Minecraft has never looked cooler. This is also a device with practical use as well, letting you use your calendar, Skype calls, watch TV without bothering anyone else. Useful, I say! Of course, while still being in development, there are the usual things to debug and work out. I haven’t yet seen a price tag or a release date yet, but I could imagine, and hope, that it is to be released sometime next year. Now check out their E3 Demo of Minecraft.
- Google Cardboard – Remember how I mentioned the Samsung Gear VR? This is Junior. A bit cheaper material, for quite a bit cheaper price. I mean, it’s in the name… This is a VR device used with a smartphone, and it is indeed made of cardboard, quite interesting really. If you want to experience VR easily without bleeding out your wallet, this is something to check out. There are already several apps on iTunes and Google’s Play Store, including a new one from Legendary Pictures, allowing the user to see what it is like to be a Jaeger Pilot from Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, and even soar above Azeroth in the new VR promo for one of next years’ big hits, Warcraft. You can usually find this device for varying prices, though averaging out around $20. You may need a newer version of your operating system to run some of the better apps, my Galaxy Note LTE cannot run most of them.
I have really only been paying attention to these specific devices, yet there are also so many others out there, such as Google Glass, and personal media viewers, but they aren’t the focus anymore for the next big thing in media entertainment. I am sure as time goes on, we will see these devices blossom into life and become as mundane as an XBox or Nintendo, but that’s whining for the future me. Presently, I plan on purchasing myself each of the devices I listed, provided I have the income.
Now go check out some of these awesome new toys!