“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night,” Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
If you told Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most distinguished scientists in history, that humans would someday be able to explore beautiful places, perceive new experiences, fly over mountaintops and compete in athletic tournaments, all from the comfort of their living rooms, he might have uttered a disbelieving statement much like the one above. Today, however, this is entirely possible, and with the introduction of widespread consumer products like Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Daydream and Oculus Rift, this will soon become commonplace.
Following the varying successes of Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect, VR headsets like the Daydream bring a new level of immersion to the player: the game is essentially an extension of the player’s own consciousness. The thrill of the chase, the heat of battle, and the rush to win is made all the more vivid via the all-round 360-degree, high definition video gaming experience. Major console creators like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are already jumping onto the bandwagon and creating VR-compatible consoles and games to cater to this growing niche of media.
Professional athletic teams have already begun using virtual reality as an invaluable tool for placing oneself on the field in order to review past mistakes, analyse enemy strategies and plan for the next game. Virtual reality is much more immersive, effective, and interactive than the previous method of making players study videos for hours on end.
Competitive sports, against computer-generated avatars and other online players is also a growing trend in virtual reality. Fitness companies are utilizing this as a tool to make the gym experience more creative and entertaining. With the growing focus on fun fitness in our steadily fast-paced world, virtual reality exercise may be a colourful addition to the monotony of running on a treadmill. Personally, I would much rather prefer exploring the Amazon jungle instead of the sight of my sweaty face in the gym mirror!