Virtual Reality appears to be the next step for mankind. 2017 has seen a host of major developments that enable a large section of the population to take advantage of this technology.
Despite advances across many industry verticals such as healthcare, training, and retail, the most widely understood application of VR so far has been games. With cheaper VR products emerging by the day, it won’t be long before people use VR products to jump into different worlds and live out fantasies.
Right now, the VR games we’re seeing most are action, adventure, and shooters—the kind of games that have worked best in traditional gaming. But, looking at examples like the forthcoming Luna, we see that the type of games that will emerge over time will be very different than anything we’ve come to expect. Here are the things VR gaming, as well as future applications of immersive media, will change the way we interact.
Connecting People with Games
Complete immersion into the game’s world is the future of gaming. Nobody wants to play a game just for the graphics and soundtrack alone. Gaming has evolved so much that it is now more about getting connected through brilliant storylines. Game apps that focus on the story do well in app stores.
We all want to have experiences that feel larger than life, yet only a handful of us get the opportunity to become a hero in real life. Virtual reality gaming provides an option for us to become the hero—even if it’s in a world that doesn’t physically exist. A lot of medical developments have been made with regard to VR technology assisting people in also maintaining fitness rather than just be a form of entertainment. We might not be far away from virtual reality versions of sports like soccer with multiple players. Regardless of the particular game genre, it’s the ones that let us explore our inner-psyches by focusing on providing resonant narratives and interactions that will capture the collective consciousness.
Becoming the Protagonist
The biggest disadvantage of flat-screen gaming happens to be the protagonist; there is simply no connection between the player and the lead character. Any connection therein is generated by the storyline. Only a handful of games can truly claim to offer an immersive experience. Games like Grand Theft Auto are great examples where the lead protagonist happens to be a well-designed character, but the projective empathy process can only extend so far in flat-screen gaming. Transforming games like these into VR offerings will let us more fully experience what it’s like to be this person.
Of course, virtual reality is not only about stepping into the shoes of a lead character. It’s also about feeling the emotions that imprinted as a result of the storyline. This ability to interact as another “person” will provide us the opportunity to script our own movie—where we play the lead—on a mass scale.
Increasing Social Interaction
There is a huge scope of potential when it comes to virtual reality gaming and gamified experiences via social media. It will be possible to create a virtual network of gamers who can be brought together to increase collaborative gaming, which has the potential to provide even better entertainment than solo-play.
This gameplay is also known as asynchronous gameplay and its objective is to bring together several players – each with their own information and problems. They would play together in order to mimic a Facebook within the virtual world. Of course, we are still a long way away from recreating The Matrix in real life, but virtual reality gaming has certainly opened the doors.
Facebook has been showing a lot of interest in growing this aspect of the industry—announcing live-stream functionality from within Spaces just last week—and it is not surprising that CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees social interaction playing a huge role in VR over the next few years.
Physical and Mental Positive Impact
Research has shown that VR promotes empathy, respect, and a willingness to assist others during their tough times. These learnings aren’t isolated to VR; we carry them with us in the real world. When used by conscious storytellers, these tools could be powerful forces of positive change in the real world.
The collaborative component also means that users will be learning team work and other positive qualities as they play. For example, a virtual reality game similar to the Call of Duty will be able to increase teamwork with other individuals, while providing entertainment at the same time.
And let’s not forget the increased physical fitness that can occur while participating in VR gaming!
VR gaming offers a great incentive to participate actively, rather than further the couch-potato-dom. Vsports options have already found success—and this will only increase as VR infiltrates the mainstream.