The future of Virtual Reality in 2020 and beyond

The future of Virtual Reality in 2020 and beyond

Virtual reality is a relatively new multi-billion dollar industry that is growing fast. Every year a new study suggests that virtual realities market worth will reach over 100 billion US dollars in 2027. Many people think virtual reality is mainly used for games but a large portion of the content in VR is not game related. Virtual reality has dominated tech headlines in recent years and its applications have engulfed a variety of non-related fields including the military, education, medical training, mental health, sports etc.

But what exactly is virtual reality as the name suggests VR is basically a simulated reality from a system that uses headsets to generate realistic images sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual world. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it and interact with its virtual features. The VR headset consists of a head mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes and typically incorporates auditory and video feedback but new and improved haptic technologies may enable other types of sensory and force feedback like the sense of touch or smell and even the simulation of gravity where you can feel the weight of an object.

This is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations where they can re-enact a dangerous event or engage with an enemy of course without the risk of death or serious injury VR has also been adopted in education for learning and teaching students can interact with each other in a 3d environment, they can take virtual field trips for instance to museums, explore the solar system and go back to different eras. Medical students use VR to practice surgeries on virtual patients which allows them to develop and sharpen their skills for real-world situations. Virtual reality has also been used to treat post-traumatic stress, anxiety, phobias and even depression, where patients are exposed and re-enact traumatic events under safe and controlled conditions in which they come in contact with the things they fear.

The sports industry has also been affected in many ways by virtual reality. VR is being used to train athletes and help measure athletic performance. It’s been suggested that the viewers experience in sports we'll be completely revolutionized in the near future. Now broadcasters will stream live games in VR and are preparing to one day sell virtual tickets to live events imagine instead of sitting in your seat at the stadium of your favourite sport, you just put your VR headset on and you are in the middle of the field running alongside your teammates not just watching the game but living it in high-definition that's the promise of virtual reality in the coming years.

Another entertainment industry that will change dramatically in the near future due to VR is gaming. One might argue that virtual reality has already revolutionized the industry of gaming with games like bone works, loan echo, Resident Evil 7 etc. however there are still many challenges facing VR in gaming for example locomotion is still rigid and not ideal in virtual reality as many users complain about motion sickness and find common locomotion methods such as teleportation not as immersive. Graphics is another area that needs further improvement both in VR and gaming in general. Once engineers find solutions to these problems where you can't distinguish reality from virtual reality, it's been hypothesized that gaming will absorb the film industry entirely and the only remaining difference between a game and a movie will be the choice to interact or not interact with the storyline. Possibly most people will prefer to become the protagonist of a storyline and engage with it, with all their senses on their own terms rather than just sit on a chair in a theater and watch someone else perform.

The near future is going to be truly exciting to witness, perhaps a little too exciting according to some experts that have expressed concerns about a possible psychological addiction to these newly adopted technologies as we've seen with smartphones but it will be comforting to know that even if we get an epidemic of psychological addiction to virtual reality the people affected by it will be fit and in shape.


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