Will Virtual Reality Finally Hit the Mainstream in 2018?

Virtual reality and 360-degree video is a huge advancement in media today. With many media outlets jumping on the trend creating their own sub-outlets for this format it is slowly becoming more popular each day. The gaming world has helped push this medium forward but it still has yet to become fully mainstreamed. Many factors could be the reason for this but as technology progresses making VR entertainment easier to enjoy, it's only a matter of time before it's a regular part of our lives.

Kyt Dotson with SiliconANGLE spoke with two VR insiders Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs from Neverdie Studios and Dipak Patel co-founder and CEO of Zeality Inc. about the future VR has and what's to be expected in 2018. They both seem optimistic of the technological advances that will be making virtual reality easier to acquire. A lot of 360-degree equipment to produce and watch virtual reality content is as of right now pretty pricey. But as the demand grows the price will naturally come down and now the innovations for the devices are finally meeting to allow more users to access the equipment.

As for right now, producing virtual reality and 360-degree video is in the present. With many camera and housing setups like the 360Rize Yi 360Orb and the affordable YI 360 VR Camera available now, novice filmmakers and content creators can get a hold of this technology now. For those more experienced and ambitious, the Samsung 360 Round Camera is the best option for those serious about diving into virtual reality. The diversity in the technology in these products plus the experience levels being met by the manufacturers, this is proof that virtual reality content will only grow.

The year 2018 may be the start of VR hitting the mainstream as headsets come into their second generation and will become cheaper, lighter and easier to use. Head-mounted displays released from Facebook Inc.’s Oculus VR, HTC Corp. and Sony Corp. in 2016 and 2017 can cost anywhere from $400 to $800, which is a barrier to wide adoption.

“I don’t expect the headsets to fly off the shelves,” Patel told SiliconANGLE, imagining a ramp-up in the market. “Rather, I see steady but small growth within the video game community driving the majority of it. They will get smaller and more consumer-friendly.”

“I predict constant progress with the technology, which is going to make it sexier and sexier,” Jacobs told SiliconANGLE, “in particular ‘inside-out’ and ‘eye tracking’ for VR.”

The concept of “inside out” tracking is that VR headsets can keep track of orientation and position in space – basically how a VR game or environment would allow a user to look around and move around. With inside-out tracking, the headset determines its own position with sensors without the need for a room to be outfitted with extra hardware and sensors.

Eye tracking, in particular, will be fundamental to VR technology in 2018. This is because rendering a VR experience even, on tiny screens near the eyes, takes a lot of computer power. That limits how games, entertainment and apps that can be written.

The year 2018 also has something else weird going for it: more movies that use VR as a foundation for the plot such as “Ready Player One,” expected to release in March. “Ready Player One” posits a dystopian future, a world wrecked by an energy crisis, in which much of the world is wired in to virtual reality, and VR is the way people interact, play games and experience entertainment....[continue reading]

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