I was skeptical about the new virtual reality (VR) hype. It was the skepticism of the worst kind–the one out of ignorance. My first intro to VR were some of the first demos on Google’s Cardboard when it was released in mid-2014. The experience was novel, but not at all breathtaking: graphics were rudimentary, you had to hold the handset with your hands, and the lenses distorted the image just enough to give you a headache. “Cute toy,” I told myself.
Fast forward two and a half years. I’m walking away from an hour long testing of HTC Vive and Google’s Daydream headsets. The only thing I can think about is, “VR might be a thing.” There are three reasons why this experience was vastly different from the previous one:
- The ability to use your hands with a controller and interact with the virtual world
- The ability to move around (HTC Vive)
- Better graphics (though still far from perfect)
Before, I was painfully aware that I’m testing a prototype. Now, I’m not testing anything, I’m in a different world. Opportunities in education and entertainment are endless.
That being said, we still have a long way to go. Headsets, both dedicated and high-end smartphones, are too expensive for the majority of people. There isn’t enough content yet. Technology and platforms are in development and who knows how interoperability will work out, if at all. Virtual reality might not go mainstream for many reasons, but I’m finally convinced that it has a chance.