Virtual reality is upon us. We’ve had some pretty shoddy, although amusing and interesting, inbetweeners – but the time is now.
Google Cardboard and some of the others that leverage your mobile device have, if nothing else, given a small but questionable insight into what is to come.
The Oculus Rift, which was bought by Facebook for $2bn just over two years ago, finally came out in the UK in September.
This has been the poster child of the future of VR for some time now and reviews are largely positive.
The one big downside of this is that you also need a pretty beefy PC to run it, so the cost of the two together isn’t cheap.
The big contender and probably consumer market winner, IMHO, will be the PlayStation VR headset.
It works with Sony’s PS4 which already has massive penetration. It costs less than the Oculus Rift and there is no clear winner on spec and quality.
So if you’re already a PS4 owner, of which there are around 40 million worldwide, then you’re highly unlikely to go any other way.
I think the benefits of VR for gaming, movies and media are pretty obvious and unbelievably exciting. It is the other applications that I am fascinated to see play out over the next couple of years.
Education will undoubtedly be a major winner. Anyone fancy going on an afternoon safari or a trip up the Statue of Liberty? Maybe you fancy a hop, skip and a jump through the Milky Way or getting to know the Titanosaur on a more personal level.
The only fly in the ointment here is that recommendations are 12/13+ for age. I’m sure that will come down over time as people get more comfortable with it in general.
For business the obvious and easy benefit is staff training, particularly where dealing with hazardous or just mildly dangerous situations. Or maybe getting right inside new product designs, buildings or town planning.
On the home front at least it’s the PlayStation VR for me.
It may turn out the Oculus is more suited to a commercial application. Time will tell on that.
• Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses software-generated realistic images, sounds and other sensations to replicate a real environment or an imaginary setting
• The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset developed and manufactured by Oculus VR
• The PlayStation VR, Sony’s virtual reality headset for use with the PS4, was released in the UK on October 13
Gavin Wheeldon is CEO of Purple