Right now, millions of people are stuck in their own homes, trying to escape boredom and to find something stimulating to do with their time. Virtual reality offers an escape and it seems like it is tailor-made for this chaotic moment.
VR has had its difficulties in taking its place in the entertainment and business consumption scheme. But now, with Covid19 reshaping many aspects and areas in the society including office work, restaurant business, healthcare – virtual reality and its future could be one of them, too.
Photo: The Oculus Quest.
VR has commercially grown in jumps and peaks ever since Oculus announced the Rift in 2012. Facebook later purchased Oculus with 2 billion dollars in 2014. Playstation, HTC and Samsung Gear VR devices all came around 2016. Last year, Oculus released the Quest, the first affordable (approx. 400e) all-in-one headset with no gaming computer required. Quest has then exceeded every other VR headset sales. The Quest and Valve index were supposed to be future bestsellers. But that wasn’t the case.
What could this mean for the industry?
Good games are the hope of VR
The growth trend of monthly VR devices connected in Steam Store has been exponential since 2016. If this trend holds, gaming and games will drive VR growth into the future. Playstation is launching its VR compatible PS5 later this year. The Quest is also rumored to have a refresh and update. With these in mind, the 2020 holiday season will show us how mature the VR consumer market is and will be.
VR in remote work and studying, healthcare
Zoom has exploded during these quarantine months. This has brought in new ways to have a meeting, for example virtual meetings and virtual backgrounds. Being present in a digital meeting doesn’t necessarily require a headset. A company called Argodesing simulates working next to a colleague and VirBela is moving in-person meetings to a computer based video game-like worlds.
Covid-19 has shown us how important the environment is for a healthy mind. What you see around you and where you spend your time, directly affects how you feel. VR helps by creating synthetic environments that offer an escape and evoke emotional and physiological reactions. All this has huge potential and it offers a new type of medical treatment or intervention for anxiety, paint, phobias, dementia and other conditions. This is considered alongside drugs, devices, surgeries and procedures as a standard tool in the medical field.
There has never been a greater need for new tech and solutions that can offer escape and enhance the limited environment we’re in. Virtual reality tech is continuing its fast evolution and the opportunity to transform and shift the whole field’s direction is stronger than ever during 2020.
Stay healthy and enjoy your VR adventures!