Will 2017 be the year of Virtual Reality? Part of the answer to that question involves recognizing that we’ve gone through several periods since the early 90s when someone, somewhere would be ask: is this the year for VR? And it never was. Nevertheless, with gaming permeating almost all aspects of life in over-developed nations, broad cultural familiarity with body motion controllers thanks to the popularity of the Wii, and new systems like those being built around the Oculus and Vive (not to mention the fact that the systems are backed by deep-pocketed tech company players who can afford to sustain losses), VR may start to emerge as more than a high-end gaming oddity.
VR promises to offer some amazing enhancements to existing gaming experiences and to open up completely new sensory experiences. But what I’ve been thinking about lately are two isses that seem a lot more prosaic. This first is that almost no one is asking the obvious question: do we actually need VR? The default development and marketing assumption is that people are clamoring for this, but are they? In the first of two posts examining games and VR I want to focus on one gaming area that VR developers have already been targeting heavily: space exploration sims.
Part 2 will focus on a concern sparked by reading a recent review of some of some new VR apps: how is VR going to influence the design of the spaces in which we live? What will VR mean, in short, for the design of our houses?