It’s incredible to think that just 60 years ago, the world was introduced to a new medium of gameplay for the very first time as Pong successfully linked digital technology with a television display. Back then, two sticks hitting a ball back and forth was some seriously ground-breaking stuff. Today, with graphics rivaling the real-world and virtual reality knocking at the Matrix’s door, it’s difficult not to wonder what the world will look like in the not-so-distant future.
According to research conducted by Data Bridge, the virtual and augmented reality market is expected to reach $2,094 billion by 2027 and a market growth rate of 68.5% from 2020-2027. Those are some pretty impressive numbers.
Beyond shoot ’em up games and watching your favorite movies through the protagonist’s eyes, virtual reality promises advancements in many industries. From education to self-development, the reach and scope of virtual reality are vast, and it’s poised to stretch into every sector. So, what will our virtual future look like, and who stands to gain from it? That’s what we’re here to find out.
You would be forgiven for thinking that virtual reality is being developed solely for avid gamers who spend all day in front of a screen. However, there are many use cases for virtual reality, self-development being one of the more interesting.
In a study from Frontiers in Society, the benefits of using virtual reality include reaching a state of flow, increased spatial awareness, and relaxation. Flow is a state of energized focus, in which the individual is fully immersed in what they are doing, thus enhancing the enjoyment of their task. In addition to the many benefits virtual reality offers in and of itself, there are also many ways that VR games and applications can aid in self-development. Take mental exercise games like puzzles and board games, since many proven benefits to putting together jigsaw puzzles.
According to Forbes, jigsaw puzzles directly and positively impact your brain’s cognitive functions and are proven to increase its processing speed. Thus, putting a jigsaw puzzle together, or playing chess in virtual reality, where the possibilities are endless, has obvious benefits.
There are already many ways to use VR to achieve your fitness goals. Think about all the problems that could be solved with VR in this industry, and in many cases, they already have been.
In the virtual world, you can ride your bike through the Amazon rainforest, do yoga in a snowy mountain top retreat, or get a one-on-one coaching session with a fitness coach without the expense or the need to leave your own home. This opens up a world of opportunities to millions of people worldwide, including those who do not have access to fitness facilities or are unable to access them due to disabilities.
The most important indicator of a successful society is how well the population is educated. As it stands, the gap in educational opportunities is vast. New schools, good teachers, books, equipment (such as computers and smart boards), and field trips all cost a significant amount of money. There’s also the age-old issue of generating interest within students with the learning material.
Virtual reality is in the position to change all of that. By immersing students in a world that allows them to learn through interactive, hands-on experiences not only bridges the access gap but has also been proven to retain the learner’s attention by up to 90%.
To illustrate the point, imagine learning about the Egyptian pyramids in a textbook. There’s no doubt that it’s an interesting subject, but there are sure to be a few glazed-over expressions in the class.
Now imagine taking a virtual field trip with your class to see the pyramids up close and personal, learning about all the same things, but in a much more exciting and engaging way. That is the future of education.
An article about the future of virtual reality would not be complete without talking about its impact on gaming. First, user engagement increases substantially in the virtual world compared to more traditional gaming methods. That’s due to their actual increased involvement in the activity.
Then there’s the high-tech equipment that VR technology employs. There’s the headset and the headphones that activate your visual and auditory senses, plus a variety of haptic technology sensors and controllers that allow the player to interact and communicate with the game they are in.
In the near future, it’s not a stretch to assume that developers will figure out how to incorporate all the senses into these games, making VR a truly immersive experience.
Even now, when playing first-person shooters, players can see and hear everything as though they are really on the battlefield. You can see and hear things like reloading guns, footsteps, storms, grenades, bullets flying past your character, speech, nature, etc. It takes this genre of gaming to a whole new level.
Horror VR games set players up for some seriously restless nights of sleep. While they can make the player feel a bit queasy, adventure games take the gamer to new worlds on exciting adventures. And world-building games make your creations truly come to life.
Long gone are the days when virtual reality was merely the concept of science fiction movies and literature. The future is now, and VR is already beginning to revolutionize countless industries across the globe. With sectors such as education, gaming, fitness, and self-improvement finding significant use cases for this exciting new tech, it will be interesting to see what else the future has in store for us once VR well and truly hits the mainstream.