We continue the topic of trends in extended reality, and today let’s talk about VR. The main trend is the following: VR is on its way to finally solve the issues related to motion sickness and hardware. Let’s talk about it in more detail:
Do you remember the times when VR was exclusively for geeks? Until recently, the headsets were wired and they required computers with super-powerful gaming video cards. A mask was pretty costly (approximately $500-600), and so were gaming computers; moreover, it could take you up to 10 minutes to untangle all the wires and prepare the tracking zone. A swift transition between the real and virtual worlds was only in our imagination; lack of smoothness was a barrier for further development of VR.
In 2019 we welcomed Oculus Quest, a wireless headset that costs $300 and works with no extra hardware. Oculus Quest pioneered in promoting virtual reality to the general audience.
Oculus Quest 2, today’s Meta Quest 2, has improved its consumer appeal and has become the world’s first consumer VR headset. It has smooth hand tracking, amazing display quality, high resolution and speedy Wi-Fi connection. It costs the same $300, but possesses much cooler features and looks like a perfect compromise between quality and cost. Quest 2 is in the final stage of its life cycle, as we’re looking forward to Meta Quest 3 release, which, rumor has it, is expected around fall of 2023.
The modern hardware guarantees really little probability of motion sickness. The problem that remains is locomotion in VR. If you use body- and head tracking and move simultaneously in VR and real space, then your brain is fine with it. It’s much harder for the vestibular system to adapt if movement trajectories in both realities differ a lot. Or, if you fly or move along curved trajectories in VR, while sitting in reality. Sometimes it takes much time to get trained for this sensory gap.
We’ve tested our VR games with a lot of users, and have come up with our own solution to this problem. Now, when we create experiences for VR, we try to avoid aggressive locomotion and look for alternative customized ways to move in the player space.
This is it for today’s overview of VR; our next post will describe what’s happening in MR.