Super Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Industry News and Technology Updates

Was 2015 the summer of VR love?

2015 is a memorable year for Virtual Reality (VR). It’s the year we may look back and remember the beginning of a new technology renaissance. The first PCs and smart phones each provided evolved human computing interaction. This new VR movement feels more collaborative within its competitive landscape. It also feels like this VR movement is going to be the best storytelling media individual consumers have had yet. Game consoles were a lot of fun for kids and playful adults who wanted to be interactively entertained, but VR represents a more natural experience for almost every use case and human being. ‘Immersive’ really is a good description for VR nowadays. The interactive development landscape has changed drastically towards more ubiquity and compatibility. From 2010-2013, middle-ware and content creators both helped to reinvent the app and game space. Developers are at the forefront of the VR movement now, creating different content flavors from immersive 2.5D games to emotionally engaging cinematic stories. Commercial VR wasn’t possible 20 or even 5 years ago, mainly because computing and graphics had not yet evolved enough in consumer’s hands. Software and hardware makers were competing with each other, rather than working together to realize self-sustaining content platforms that could benefit consumers, which equals bigger business. We’ve come a long way since mobile carriers and console manufacturers dictated our daily dose of interactive content. Now, those choices are more in the hands of consumers and the developers especially. Consumer tastes, development tools, and technology innovations have all played active roles in growing a world ready for mass market VR. One thing that appears to be set now is the race to the top of the VR ecosystem. Three big players are ready for 2016 releases and offer different value propositions to consumers in a higher priced setting. AT THE TOP PSVR (aka Morpheus): PSVR has a great launch advantage. It’s plug and play into an existing PS4 system that its users already own or might purchase for their VR experiences. Sony has really improved its 3rd party developer network over the last few years. Sony has also positioned the opportunity for its large install base of indie Unity and Unreal developers to design and publish their games directly to PSVR. The PlayStation Network (PSN) makes it easier for developers to reach consumers with their content, receiving professional support and PR from a global software and hardware manufacturer. Oculus: Oculus is synonymous with VR. It was the first (modern) VR product most of us read about in the news a few years ago. It was also invented out of a humble R&D educational setting with a broad input from many inventors, students, and researchers. While some of the original participants may not have all ended up as Oculus employees, many have continued to innovate and invent in the same VR space. Having a parent company in Facebook won’t hurt the Oculus movement as they can reach a wide target of end users, many of whom will still need to prepare their experience with expensive equipment they might not own for current Candy Crush game play. Vive: Vive is a compelling entry at the top. Many professional VR tastemakers have expressed that the Vive is the best VR experience they’ve had. This product comes from one of the top game developers in the world plus a reputable hardware partner. It’s going to be fueled by the successful Steam store, although there currently are far less Vive compatible games than those offered on Steam. In The Middle GearVR: There’s also a middle spectrum of the VR medium being created and supported by the Samsung GearVR Head Mounted Display (HMD). It’s safe to assume that other competitors will help grow out this mid-spectrum layer supporting higher-end mobile devices and experiences. StarVR: It may be premature to place StarVR into this category until they expose their tech more. It would be great to have another serious player in this middle playing field.  ??? It would be very smart for Amazon to leverage a Kindle compatible HMD in this middle VR niche. Amazon has a lot of related computer vision and AI experience as well as 126 reasons to extend the VR medium to their Kindle and App store customers. AT THE SURFACE While the mid-tier experiences might not be as high resolution as the top-tier systems, being able to experience VR on the go could ignite a lot of initial excitement and loyalty to a global smart phone install base that is quickly reaching 2B users. Google and The New York times will release 1M free ‘Cardboard’ HMDs in this Sunday’s NYT edition, all of which can be used with the new NYT VR mobile app. If this is a successful campaign, we might start to see large brands and entertainment firms using mobile VR for marketing and promotions similarly to billboards and TV commercials. There are so many perspectives and angles to look at in the future of VR business, but perhaps the easiest and potentially most lucrative near term VR opportunities are already in our pocket? Most people don’t yet realize they can experience a ton of VR content from their smart phone today, both on Android and iOS platforms. – Mark T. Morrison For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, check out our other social media sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile