Virtual reality has gone from an imagined concept in 70s and 80s movies to a new idea that failed to catch on in the 90s. However, this year we may be seeing the start of the first ever virtual reality experience that will catapult the world into a brand new way to watch films, television and most notably, play video games.
Tablets like the iPad were revolutionary when they were initially released. This new hardware let their owners experience media and surf the internet from wherever they went through touchscreen devices with ultra-thin screens. The next step in the evolution of entertainment could very well be the Oculus Rift, which is a virtual reality display that can be mounted on your head by an adjustable strap. This new piece of technology allows you to see a virtual world through your own eyes—not a TV screen.
It’s not like a pair of Google Glasses, where you can search the web or record your daily activities in the real world. The Oculus Rift transports you visually to a whole new world when gaming. In the past, if you wanted to look around in a game world you had to tilt a joystick, now you simply move your head in the appropriate direction. Technology has come a long way. Past demos have shown players using a computer keyboard or a regular game controller while playing on the Oculus Rift. However, a press conference held on June 11th at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center showed an innovative item that can pair with this new and exciting system, called the Oculus Touch.
The Oculus Touch consists of two wireless controllers that fit comfortably into each of your hands and allows the user to reach out, touch and pick up objects in the simulated space using the Oculus Rift. A partnership between Oculus and Microsoft (the popular video game console (Xbox One) and computer manufacturer) was also announced at E3. The Xbox One controller is promised to come packaged with the Oculus Rift along with the ability to stream games from your Xbox to the headset.
The Oculus Rift is set for release in the first quarter of 2016. Will it be the newest trend to take the nation by storm like the iPad or will it be just another flash in the pan like so many other gadgets before it? Only time will tell.