While virtual reality has been an idea in the pipeline since the 60s, with the first ever virtual/augmented reality head mounted display, dubbed “Sword of Damocles” being invented in 1967 by Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sprout, it never REALLY took off or became something readily available for the masses until the last decade. Access to Virtual Reality experiences have become so easily accessible now, whether that’s through VR Centers like VR-Here in Liverpool, England or just the fact that you can pick up something like the Oculus Quest headset super cheap now and you don’t even need a PC to use it. Anybody can experience VR now. But there are still some people who are on the fence about VR thinking it’s just a gimmick, to those people I say no, it isn’t and I have five reasons as to why we need to embrace it within the next year or so.
As always with pieces like this, we’ll start with a list and then we’ll break it down entry by entry, here goes;
Five reasons to embrace VR within the next year
- It’s SUPER fun
- Great way to stay in shape
- Can be used to give people means to experience things they otherwise couldn’t.
- Awesome for an immersive experience, replacing surround monitor arrays.
- It’s a great way to keep the gaming industry innovating for the future.
Now we have our list, we’ll break it down the way we always do.
An example of one of the Belong gaming ‘arenas’ found in select GAME stores up and down the UK, equipped with LANned up PC’s and Consoles as well as VR stations. Source: Forbes
1 – A Fun Ol’ Time
This one is super subjective and completely open to personal interpretation. In my opinion, Virtual Reality is very fun, I first experienced it at a VR center in Teesside Park, the games retailer GAME started rolling out VR/LAN centers that they use for Esports and sharing a VR experience with those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to accept it, it cost per hour but considering I hadn’t experienced it, that hour I spent in there? It took every fibre of my being to not buy a HTC Vive on my way out the door. At the time I was stretched for cash and it probably wouldn’t have been wise. Recently I bought an Oculus Quest 2 and I LOVE it, but what I will say it has made me want to buy a “proper” VR headset for my PC more, is that a good thing? Maybe. I’ll pick one up eventually but as an entry level to VR the Oculus Quest 2 is fantastic and I’d definitely recommend it!
2 – A Great Way to Stay in Shape
This one may come as a surprise to some of you, but playing with VR can be a super physical experience, depending on the games you play of course. If you’re using the VR headset as a heads up display (we’ll get to that soon) but, if I’m in that trance feeling the mojo in Beat Saber, flailing my arms around like a mad man, I’d be interested to see how many calories I’m burning doing that. If you’re a gamer and you’re looking for a way to stay active without having to leave your house, which lets face it, nobody REALLY wants to touch grass. Consider picking up a VR headset. I would really recommend it. If you don’t want to play Beat Saber, don’t. There are plenty of other fantastic and physical VR experiences to help you get fit.
NEVRlabs is a VR/LAN center run by Alice House Hospice, the charity I mentioned below. Source: NEVRlabs
3 – A Way to Experience Things You Otherwise Couldn’t
Okay so, you may be wondering what I mean by this. In my town there’s a charitable organisation called Alice House Hospice, they’re a charity that are there to help people who have basically been given their last rites or are affected by life-limiting illnesses the support and care they need and recently, they started using VR headsets to allow people to experience things like roller coasters or even just sitting on a beach in the Maldives. It’s a fantastic cause and I urge you all to look into their cause and give them some support. Not only that but it has given people a means to experience a social setting like, I used sports betting websites to play VR poker, I enjoyed doing poker nights with friends and stuff but, due to covid that stopped, we ended up doing it with VR instead and it was a great laugh!
4 – Replacement For Surround Monitor Setup
Back in the day if you were wanting to set up a great sim racing or sim flying rig, you’d be looking at a pretty expensive multi monitor setup to give you the best experience. Now though? In my opinion, the best experience you can get is a VR headset, it is WAY more immersive given the way PoV works in VR.
5 – A Great Way to Innovate the Gaming Industry
This one isn’t necessarily a great reason by any stretch of the imagination, at least not for a lot of people. BUT for me at least, VR means more potential avenues for innovation in the gaming industry, more potential ideas for games and the industry NEEDS that. We see a lot of the same old stuff being pumped out by developers CONSTANTLY but VR is another avenue. More innovation, more unique experiences, what’s not to like right?
And that’s IT! That’s 5 reasons why we should embrace VR within the next year or so, have you already picked up a VR headset? Have you experienced VR at all? Or are you not bothered by VR and think it’s still a pointless gimmick? We’d love to know your thoughts, get in touch and stay safe gamers!