The time is right for a Virtual Reality Course, Here’s Why
Writing in 2022, we have seen a decade of exciting growth for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – known collectively as Extended Reality (XR). VR hardware is now widely available at accessible price points. Owners of the right hardware can access an expanding range of exciting software.
But we’re only just starting to see the possibilities of XR.
Looking ahead, we can expect to continue to see major breakthroughs in hardware – both in terms of price, and quality. These developments are likely to fuel exciting progress in gaming, education, retail, and more.
AR and VR are already present in these areas: in the future, they will become normal.
Although this short post can’t cover everything in this dynamic field, it can give you a few ideas about these key areas. This is enough to show that anyone thinking about a career in these areas can look forward to an exciting and profitable future.
Hardware will be more immersive and cheaper
The cost of VR hardware has already dropped significantly, making it more available than ever. Interesting VR experiences are no longer unusual – and AR is not just a novelty. In other words, we’ve come a long way from Sega VR and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy!
Nonetheless, the nuts-and-bolts of hardware and software remain obstacles for the industry. Indeed, 32% of industry leaders suggested that hardware usability continues to bea problem for AR use; and 27% suggested that content offerings were not sufficient for VR.
On the one hand, we will find that hardware continues to grow more reliable, cost-efficient, and user-friendly. In many use cases, businesses and consumers would be happy with current levels of functionality – just as long as the hardware is accessible and easy to use.
Yet the possibilities of hardware will continue to expand and grow. For example:
- Treadmills for games;
- Complete body tracking;
- Lightweight headsets;
- Precise full-body haptic feedback;
- Higher processing power for AR;
- Devices that interact directly with your visual cortex.
Some of these technologies are beginning to be available. Yet they are not always convincing: body suits and gloves still cannot give precise vibrations that would really immerse you in a world. In the future, we can expect much more from every piece of equipment.
Gaming showcases the potential of XR Software
The imaginative worlds of video games continue to showcase the latest possibilities of VR and AR. Developers are already making the most out of the hardware that’s available to them, leading the way for other industries and applications.
First-person shooter games are a natural way for VR to be used. Yet we now have a catalogue of games that don’t involve realism or fighting – such as Beat Saber, Fujii, and Virtual Virtual Reality, to name but three.
When developers can count on a large audience for their VR offerings, they will be able to experiment and test things even more thoroughly. Many users won’t be too worried about new depths of immersive experience – they just want to have an interesting gaming experience!
Educational uses could increase dramatically
When we think of gaming, we’re mainly imagining the consumer as an end-user, buying the hardware and software for their own recreational needs.
But the development of VR and AR in education reminds us that their applications are not just about leisure time.
In Steam’s store alone, VR can help you fly over ancient Rome, use an electronics laboratory, and explore the wreck of the Titanic. Meanwhile, an immersive exhibition of Van Gogh’s works has taken the world by storm.
In some fields, such as pilot training, VR and AR are already established as training methods. In the near future, we can expect to see programmers seriously exploring the possibilities in education.
It’s unlikely that they’ll become ubiquitous: as researchers have pointed out, “it is not the same to use VR for simulation, playing casual games, or searching something particular on the Internet”.
Educational applications for VR and AR depend on finding meaningful applications of the technology. All the same, it’s clear that we are at the beginning of an educational journey with VR.
Making old retail experiences into something new
AR and VR are not everywhere in retail. However, there are now many extremely interesting applications of Extended Reality in the retail space.
In clothing, furnishing, make-up, motoring and more, major retailers are using this technology to support their sales – by doing old routines in a new way.
Test-driving a car, trying on a new outfit, or thinking about how a new sofa looks in your home, are all standard consumer behaviours. But with VR, consumers can interact with a far greater range of possibilities, scrolling through many pairs of glasses, or many shades of eye make up, in order to find the style that’s just right for them.
Across the retail sector, VR and AR are already changing the way people shop.
A Metaverse of new experiences
Yet, the metaverse is where forms of ‘lifestyle’ VR and AR can change retail experiences more dramatically.
Individual sellers are starting to use metaverse applications in limited ways. For example, Kate Spade’s collection of bags were available for interactions in a virtual world. And there are reliable reports that major companies are buying up space to promote their stores in different virtual worlds.
But if sophisticated VR technology becomes more and more widespread, we can very well expect these experiences to become more convincing.
The possibilities we now have, make us ask questions about the future. What will a fully immersive VR shopping experience look like? Could haptic feedback help us feel fabrics and textures?
At the moment, we’re still in a position where VR and AR can only be produced in the sectors where a good profit can be guaranteed.
However, as our understanding of these technologies grows, it is inevitable that small studios, niche applications, and large audiences will be able to enter the marketplace.
As a result, there’s no question that this is a great time to learn AR/VR and discover the potential yourself. You’ll be investing in skills that will allow an extremely wide range of creative possibilities.