Will 2017 be the year virtual reality gets real?

Jan 2, 2017 · theguardian.com

Screen shot 2017 01 02 at 08.46.59

From the high-end Oculus Rift to Google and Samsung’s cheaper offerings, VR is aiming for the mainstream. What next?

Virtual Reality is ... well, real. The last year has seen the launch of every major VR platform, from high-quality tethered systems like HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, through to cheap-and-cheerful smartphone-based platforms like Google’s Daydream and Samsung’s Gear VR.

The early adopters have bought in, the launch games have been launched, and now that the initial flurry of excitement has died down, the more pressing questions are left: how will the platforms evolve? What will you actually be able to do with them? And is VR just a stepping stone anyway, to the even more science-fiction future of augmented reality tech?

At its inception, VR is unquestionably a gaming technology first and foremost. The most expensive and technologically advanced systems have an almost total focus on serving the hardcore gamer market. Even the simpler systems, which lack the pixel-pushing power necessary to satisfy modern players, still end up with a preponderance of games and game-like projects, because that’s what’s easiest to build with the tools available.

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