While virtual reality was once thought of as a distant dream, recent developments and new hardware have pushed entertainment industry to take the concept seriously.
Earlier this year, Facebook completed a $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, the creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming headset. Where the independent company was once building slowly, the deal provided the commercial backing and financial support that could propel the technology onto shelves.
While some were concerned that the Oculus Rift would be steered away from gaming, their concerns were quashed when CEO Brendan Iribe announced that the two organisations have plans for a VR online multiplayer that would accommodate a billion players. But while critics still remain unsure about whether Oculus VR’s gaming focus will diminish, Sony has thrown its hat into the ring, much to the delight of virtual reality gaming hopefuls.
The tech giant is currently exploring the applications of virtual reality for its flagship PlayStation 4 console. Dubbed Project Morpheus, the technology is still under development but provides an exciting glimpse into how mainstream the concept could become over the upcoming years.
Although Sony still has a number of questions to answer regarding the technicalities of implanting virtual reality into a next-gen console, one thing the company is certain of is that it will have a huge impact on the whole gaming experience.
“Games for Morpheus are going to be very different,” said Sony’s senior game designer and virtual reality enthusiast Jed Ashforth. “The sense of having a presence within the game is something totally new. It’s a very different experience.”
While basic game demos such as The Deep, The Castle and Eve Valkyrie are already highlighting the potential of Morpheus, the hardware is still taking shape. Position-tracking lights, 3D audio and crisp dual-screens create an immersive experience, but there is still work to be done to iron out all the creases and reduce any potential motion sickness before a commercial launch.
Morpheus could lead the way in virtual reality console gaming, while Oculus VR and other emerging VR firms could also bring the experience to the online platform. As public interest and anticipation continues to rise, we could soon see a future where you can step back in time to a Second World War battlefield in Call of Duty or travel across the world from in front of your PC, taking a seat at a virtual American poker room or via the Royal Vegas Canada mobile app.
As virtual reality’s astonishing potential is starting to come to light, the future of gaming has never seemed more exciting.