Coming into Q2 of 2017, the concept of ‘reality’ is top-of-mind for many in the media and business worlds. Virtual reality has been the topic of much speculation. Even since before Atari released its seminal Atari 2600 video game console in 1977, developers and entrepreneurs have been trying to place humans inside of storylines that are beyond this world.
Virtual reality is projected to be a $5.2 billion industry in 2018. The technology is impacting fields from video gaming to professional sports to healthcare, event planning, and construction. After decades of hype, true VR experiences finally appear to be scaling at a level that make them affordable to the average American. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest influencers in the field right now and how they are applying virtual reality technology into our everyday lives.
NextVR is pioneering the progression of ‘wow’ moments in virtual reality. Their objective is to place users inside events no matter they are in the world. Fans have the opportunity to experience live concerts, sporting events, or other entertainment-based programming. Currently working with many of the biggest names in entertainment, including CNN, Live Nation, and NBC Sports, NextVR is gearing up to be one of the most accessible points for the average person to experience virtual reality.
Modern takes on revolutionary technologies aren’t complete without an open-source option. High Fidelity is cornering that market, adding a ‘social’ element to virtual reality that hopes to pique the interest of modern techies. Users can create and host virtual reality experiences, share them with others, and discuss the process via the Forums section on High Fidelity’s website.
Palmer Lucky and John Carmack, Oculus Virtual Reality
John Carmack spent years in the video game industry, so it’s no surprise that Oculus is pumping out VR headsets that are revolutionizing the gaming experience. Palmer Lucky has been a force to reckon with in the VR world since he began Oculus via a Kickstarter campaign. The company, now owned by Facebook, has released technology compatible with mobile phones, PCs, and ‘WebVR’ and the graphics are unparalleled. Perfect for multi-platform experiences, Oculus is leading the way in immersive experiences for gaming and beyond.
Tony Parisi has been in the VR game before many VR users were born. He co-founded VRML with partner Mark Pesce in 1994, and is currently the head of AR and VR strategy at Unity. The company is an industry leader in helping clients create interactive VR experiences for their customers.
Host Kent Bye leads this daily – that’s right, daily – podcast discussing trends and topics across the realm of virtual reality. He experiences VR in all its forms, then discusses the practical applications of each. While he may not be designing the headsets or capabilities themselves, he is bringing the word to the masses and calling his fair share of shots along the way.
Global Virtual Reality Association
This non-profit group of industry leaders just came together in December. The association is basically a who’s-who of the virtual reality industry, and is sure to have a major impact on the direction of the field throughout this year and beyond. Check out who’s involved: Google, Oculus, Vive, Acer’s Starbreeze, Samsung, and Sony. Not a light list. Their mission is to serve as a resource for ‘consumers, policymakers, and industry’ interested in working with VR.
Across the world of VR, some of the biggest business names in tech are working alongside bright young startups to continue making virtual reality a larger part of our day to day lives. Look for the topic to become increasingly news-friendly as developments happen – with names like Google and Facebook involved, we can rest assured the future of this industry won’t be relegated to the back pages of the business section.