With new VR centres springing up faster than the rodents on whack-a-mole and with the next generation of consoles hinting that VR is the future there is no doubt that VR is…Well it’s the future, isn’t it? But with the technology having progressed rapidly over the last decade, what is the future of the future of gaming?
If you have played VR on any games console or on Steam you will know that the headset offers unrivalled immersion. The system for movement? Not so much. If you have been fortunate to try the VR on Steam, using Valve’s patented controller that can recognise individual finger movement you will know how satisfying that is. And yes, the first thing we all do is flip the robots in the demo the bird! But when it comes to walking around it falls flat. Yes, it will recognise if you walk around a room, but rooms are small. The game indicates when you are getting close to a wall but that sort of kills the immersion and the sensors aren’t great. Many are the times I have bumped into a wall with my thousand-pound headset on. Of course, you can use the thumbsticks, but then you feel a bit like Professor X. Rooted to the spot using a twiddly stick for movement. So what is the future?
Well, it isn’t a cheap solution, but some form of multi-directional treadmill that automatically reacts to changes in your speed. So you are effectively running on the spot, but with this nifty device, you can feel like you are running for miles. It has the added benefit of improving your fitness.
More sensory experience
There are a ton of so-called 4-dimensional rides on this planet we call home. If you have never experienced one, they are well worth a go. VR could benefit from this. Perhaps you play in a sensory tube that you step into that can soak you when it is raining, or blow air over you when you are hanging off the edge of a plane wing. You get the picture. Of course,, you would need to get a headset that is waterproof.
The X-box lauded it’s Kinect as “making you the controller” of course this wasn’t actually very good – but with VR progressing this could be the case. The bodysuit is the natural evolution of that. After all, we have rumble pads in our controllers to improve immersion, this would take that idea to the next level. While wearing the suit if you get shot on the arm that patch would vibrate. Imagine knowing that a chest shot is potentially deadly and your heart racing as you feel your stomach vibrate knowing you were almost a goner! Now that’s immersion!
Going one step further from the suit – imagine a future where the game jacks into your brain. The futuristic device would be able to access your bodies pain receptors and trigger actual feelings in your limbs. Everything would be visceral and realism would be upped to near lucidity. It’s at this point that the line between reality and the game would start to get pretty blurry.
If you have ever watched any of Star Trek The Next Generation you will be familiar with the holo-deck. This futuristic chamber places the user into a virtual world. In many ways, this is the ultimate game as the user is virtually living a different life. Of course, not everyone can afford to dedicate an entire room of their house to video games! Personally, I envision some kind of tube with a treadmill floor that you enter wearing a suit and a waterproof headset…But perhaps we will just go back to 3d. who knows?