VR – Short and Long Term Trends at Oculus Connect
The VP of AllSeated’s R & D department, Ronen Tsamir, recently had the opportunity to attend Oculus Connect 2018 in San Jose, California. He had such a wonderful experience and learned so much that he wanted to share his thoughts on the conference in today’s blog post!
After attending Oculus Connect, I would like to share my insights on the future of Virtual Reality (VR), from the perspectives of both technology and content. I was excited to learn about the planned developments of outlining a clear trend that will transition VR from the gaming world into additional content worlds.
VR, like 3D, is a direct continuation of the gaming world. VR technology mainly focuses on improving visual capabilities and user experience. This strategic direction suits us as we aspire to maximize the event experience, starting as early as the planning stage. Therefore, we keep up-to-date and integrate our latest technology into our product.
We seem to fit in well with Facebook’s strategy that encourages applications to use VR outside of the gaming world. The three leading players in the world of advanced VR are Sony’s PlayStation®VR, HTC`c Vive VR and Facebook’s Oculus.
Facebook’s vision was clearly conveyed in Mark Zuckerberg’s opening speech at the Conference. According to Zuckerberg, a real social application will not be realized through Instagram or Facebook, and will offer a holistic, virtual reality social experience, “when we all meet in one great celebration that never ends.” (Richard Bach).
Facebook focuses on the development of Oculus Venue, virtual worlds that enable us to meet with friends, watch movies together and share sports experiences. Yet, not everyone shares this opinion; Oculus’ speakers (the Company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion) mainly spoke about gaming and presented examples from the gaming world.
Facebook’s strategy is also demonstrated in its investment in a new device that will be launched early next year, Oculus Quest, which will be slightly more expensive ($400), but similar to the Oculus GO will not require a computer or console.
The Oculus Quest enables users to spot movement inside a room, such as hand movements when we grasp a handle as well as finger movements such as gripping, pointing, etc. It does it by scanning and creating a cloud point of the room or venue in which we are located.
The Oculus Quest will enable us to move across the virtual world using our hands, same as the Oculus Rift, but with no wires or computer that limit our ease of movement.
With everything that the Oculus Quest has to offer, we were surprised to discover that Facebook sees Oculus GO as a permanent offering among its VR domain, rather than just a temporary substitute that will be off the shelves once the Oculus Quest is launched.
Facebook presented data that clearly demonstrates the Oculus GO has different usage patterns compared to the Oculus Rift (the more expensive device that requires a strong gaming computer). While the Oculus Rift usage is 80% for games and only 20% for media and social applications, the Oculus GO has a different usage pattern, with 80% for media and social applications, and only 20% for games.
Facebook was concerned that the Oculus GO would turn into a buzz product, and that 70% of users would use it once then put it in storage. However, records clearly show that most users use GO regularly to consume media.
We can look back to the beginning of the computer game era in the 80s; in a decade, we will think of this time right now as the good old days of the early AR and VR era.
Beyond the reduction in device size and improved convenience, in the next five years, a new display system will sharpen device resolution. We will be able to enjoy a full-body view, (not only head and hand resolution that is available today). It will be achieved by gloves that enable real hand movement in the virtual world and receiving feedback back to our fingers, which enables holding and lifting virtual objects (we can actually sense the object we are holding). Prototypes of similar gloves were presented at the Conference.
We look forward to what we will learn at next year’s Oculus Connect Conference!