It’s funny sometimes to look back when reading books and articles written in the 1950s, at the dawn of the space age. Our parents and grandparents were so optimistic about the future of their children, in which we imagined flying cars, floating cities, teleportation and colonies on the Moon.
Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten there yet, despite the many technological advancements made between then and now. Of course, our lives have improved in ways they never even imagined: the internet, the collective resource of all knowledge in the world, is now at the fingertips and in the pockets of billions of people. Advances in medicine have literally eradicated diseases that once decimated nations. In terms of leisure, we can now enjoy realistic and immersive games that transport us to totally new worlds.
It was in gaming technology that we saw the first real emergence of virtual reality. Sure, this one has been conceptualized and undertaken for years, but it’s only in the past few years that we’ve seen virtual reality headsets made available to everyone. Admittedly, at a price of around 800 € and sometimes more, it is not a question of any expense, but the fact remains that this completely revolutionary technology for games is now available for the uninitiated.
It was in the world of video games that we first saw virtual reality reinventing a technology or an experience. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the market leaders in virtual reality headsets, giving gamers an immersive and interactive experience previously thought impossible. Gaming computers and the cost associated with running the devices means they’re still quite expensive, but they’re here and they’ve completely changed the game when it comes to gaming, that’s for sure.
However, the world of video games is not alone in being sure to be reinvented by virtual reality technology as it improves. The practical applications of virtual reality in everyday life, outside of recreation and gaming, are mind-boggling. Oculus, for example, is convinced that the future of virtual reality is in social networks. Of course, knowing that the company is owned by Facebook, it seems hard for her to say anything else, but it also means she’s in the best position to realize that.
This could involve introducing a social aspect to usually fairly ordinary activities. Social networks have now become so ubiquitous, especially as a visual medium for people to display their private life (Snapchat, Instagram), that they could insinuate themselves into other domains thanks to virtual reality. Let’s take an example like online casinos, with casino games in their simplest form, without worrying about dealers and other players. The need for the social aspect of these games is becoming more and more apparent, knowing that “live tables with real dealers” which transmit images of the dealer and the players via webcams are now among the most popular games.
Imagine the association of virtual reality with this activity, then do the same with other activities such as online shopping. In the not too distant future, it will be possible to call on an assistant in a virtual store when shopping online, as if you were going shopping around the corner!