In 1985, a crew of kids in Palo Alto had this radical idea of developing something the world had never seen before – technology that could create an alternate, virtual reality. At the time, the world wasn’t ready for this kind of innovation, so unfortunately their efforts died in bankruptcy. The idea, on the other hand, survived.
Now 30 years later, that dream is an actual reality. VR headsets are now available for all kinds of experiences and budgets. If you’re looking into getting off your own lawn and into a virtual battlefield, planet, or racecar, here are some of the options out there.
This is probably the cheapest VR experience available, starting at $19.95 and going up from there with different models. Once assembled, cardboard works with your Android and boom – you’ve got VR. Some of the best games are VRSE (gorgeous visuals), Sisters (terrifying), War of Words (after the BBC series), and BeerBox (hilariously simulates inebriation). Sounds like Google isn’t stopping with Cardboard however, last year they’ve invested $542 million in Magic Leap, an augmented reality startup.
But that’s just the beginning. 2016 is about to take VR to a whole new level.
Formerly called PlayStation Project Morpheus, PlayStation VR is pretty much exactly what we imagined a VR headset would look like when we were kids. In all honesty, this article may have been inspired by our getting all excited about the announcement of PlayStations VR’s games at PlayStation Experience 2015. They look ridiculously awesome. 100ft Robot Golf turns you into a, well, 100ft robot, as you stomp around cities and play golf in between towers, across rivers, over freeways. Eagle Flight goes beyond your standard flight simulator by turning you into an eagle, and Modern Zombie Taxi Co jumps on board the zombie obsession as you jump on board zombie-packed taxis. All of this madness, coming your way next year.
This badass is the reason for the new resurgence of VR attention. Developed by a 21-year-old and initially funded via Kickstarter (see, badass), Oculus is shaping up to be all we will be playing with upon its Q1 2016 release. One of the reasons we’ll be so busy with it is their partnering with Harmonix to create Rock Band VR, which honestly looks like the greatest game after the aforementioned 100ft Robot golf. Take a look at this trailer and try to tell us with a straight face you’re not itching to get your hands on a VR guitar.
Then in January, completely out of nowhere, Microsoft stomped into the VR party and surprised everyone with their announcement of an ambitious blend of virtual and augmented reality. Apparently it had secretly been under development for years, as far back as 2010. The headset HoloLens promises to deliver a variety of experiences, given its ability to illuminate images on kitchen counters, walls, whatever the surroundings by utilizing the depth camera. With that, the user will be able to watch sports games, play VR games, and see, well, holograms! Even or almost cooler is there’s no keyboard or controller to speak of – everything is controlled by voice and gestures. The developer edition is set for release in 2016 for an unholy $3,000 – but if this thing can deliver everything it promises, sounds like it’ll be well worth it.
VR is back and the opportunity for developing games and apps has never been better. Get in on the ground floor and let us know how we can help.