back to article Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it

Having already lived through one virtual reality hype cycle, I’m surprised to find that 2015 has been punctuated of a number of experiences proving that virtual reality may finally be nearing the mainstream. In February, I experienced some of the new head-mounted displays - and found first-generation Oculus Rift unimpressive. …

  1. Arctic fox

    I may be being cynical but................

    "That’s not going to happen overnight. But that training ought to to start today, because demand for immersive content is going to skyrocket. A year from now we’ll likely be in a world where demand has greatly exceeded supply. That’s an opportunity - but it’s also a danger, because if people can’t find enough novelty in the immersive world, they’ll walk away from it, and the technology will once again fail to live up to the hype. ®"

    ....................I do not think that it will be a problem. The moment the porn industry gets hold of this it will be a raving success.

    1. AbelSoul
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The moment the porn industry gets hold of this..

      They already have, for quite some time now.

      I had a look* at a free trailer and it's rather, erm.... startling?

      *Purely for research purposes, of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The moment the porn industry gets hold of this..

        The word I've used to describe it is compelling

        To the point where I've actually slapped down a credit card for further content :)

        It's what 3D TV promised but never delivered

        Anon obviously

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: The moment the porn industry gets hold of this..

          Deffo anon if you have slapped down a real credit card :-)

          1. phil dude
            Joke

            Re: The moment the porn industry gets hold of this..

            I thought the point of the VR was to avoid the slapping...

            P.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The moment the porn industry gets hold of this..

        Who wants to watch videos of porn stars wearing VR headsets??

    2. southen bastard

      Re: I may be being cynical but................

      that was my very first thought and my second and a few after that, I'm off to up grade my machine!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I may be being cynical but................

      I do not think that it will be a problem. The moment the porn industry gets hold of this it will be a raving success.

      Not heard the old joke about why people who wear glasses never come ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I may be being cynical but................

        I'm not sure what the effect will be on people's brain.

  2. Yugguy

    VR makes me want to hurl

    Until that's fixed, or someone invents a holodeck, then I'll stick to real life, thanks.

    And I seem to remember similar excitement and predictions about 3D TV...

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Facepalm

      Re: VR makes me want to hurl

      Um, did you not read the article?

      GJC

      1. Yugguy

        Re: VR makes me want to hurl

        There will still be the discontinuity between what my body/inner ear is doing and what my eyes see.

        That's what always causes me issues. I don't get vertigo on a physical rollercoaster, or one of those articulated simulator boxes that actually move in time with what's being displayed.

        Edit - I see from the post below that I am not the only one.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: VR makes me want to hurl

          "There will still be the discontinuity between what my body/inner ear is doing and what my eyes see."

          Only if you're moving. Or rather think that you do. Does not apply for any sort of near-static position like sitting in a virtual cockpit that appears relatively stable (you wouldn't expect all that much "feels" driving a lorry like, say, in Euro Truck Simulator) or if you straight-up watch a movie that lets you look around freely from a fixed(ish) point. Not every application of VR is a roller-coaster sim...

          EDIT: Looking at some of the comments here, Galileo must be spinning in his grave like crazy: "What inner ear?!? How many times do I have to explain to you people what an inertial frame of reference is, for f###'s sake?!?!?"

          1. Deltics

            Re: VR makes me want to hurl

            So why do people get car sick if they read while the car is moving ?

            With their vision filled by visual cues indicating that they are stationery (eyes down in their lap, reading the book) but they are in a vehicle that is moving giving a mismatch between visual and physical cues. The advice given to people with such sensitivity is "look out of the window from time to time", so that the visual and physical cues have a chance to align.

            How is this any different than the mismatch between a physical cue that you are stationary (sat/slumped on the couch or standing like a dork in the middle of the room) whilst receiving visual cues that you are in fact in motion ? The degree of motion may be a factor in how badly you are affected, if at all (not everyone gets car sick or sea sick after all), but the effect is the same.

        2. fung0

          Re: VR makes me want to hurl

          "There will still be the discontinuity between what my body/inner ear is doing and what my eyes see."

          A lot of this is circumstantial. My first try with an Oculus Rift, I immediately started to get queasy. Then I realized I was spinning around like a Dervish, doing things I'd never do in the real world. Once you adjust your behavior to be more 'normal' - making more deliberate movements - most of the problem goes away.

          Content developers will also need to take this into account, of course. They can control the experience in various ways, to minimize problems. Also, what we loosely call 'VR' encompasses a huge range of experiences. I suspect there will be some that anyone can enjoy, and others that will be more... challenging.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: VR makes me want to hurl

        Um, did you not read the article?

        Sure, I did. There is a massive gap in VR systems especially for gaming and/or immersive action experiences.

        You get change in your head (and respectively inner ear) position not only from moving your head. You are expected to be moving your whole body too. There is no way in hell, on earth or otherwise to provide a non-vertigo inducing experience of a X-Wing or Starfury using a VR headset. Same goes for car racing simulators as well as any first person shooters which has a more complex motion in 3 dimensions like rolls, going up/down stairs, jumping, etc. So headset VR will successfully deliver a big PUKE as far as games are concerned.

        It is highly dubious that it can deliver for sports. A key feature in sports reporting are close-ups and changes of angle for key moments. A typical sports closeup in VR looks like several G (at least) worth of acceleration while at the same time your inner ear gets no sense of motion. That is a mighty PUKE in 5 minutes or so of watching football, even less if watching basketball or tennis. You can of course broadcast with no closeups for VR. That will not live beyond the "watch it once" for the novelty of the experience.

        The only thing it is good for are various fly-on-the-wall tightly controlled user experiences. A choice of Porn, Porn or Porn and some Big Brother for good measure. Maybe some of what 3D TV failed to deliver in terms of actually seeing movies in proper 3D.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: VR makes me want to hurl

          A choice of Porn, Porn or Porn and some Big Brother

          One of those does nothing for me.

          1. TimeMaster T
            Coat

            Re: VR makes me want to hurl

            "A choice of Porn, Porn or Porn and some Big Brother"

            "One of those does nothing for me."

            I can relate. The whole "domination" fetish doesn't do anything for me either.

        2. HelpfulJohn

          Re: VR makes me want to hurl

          " There is no way in hell, on earth or otherwise to provide a non-vertigo inducing experience of a X-Wing or Starfury using a VR headset."

          Signals to the nerves after the inner ear?

          It's only electrical pulses, it should be doable.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: VR makes me want to hurl

            It's only electrical pulses, it should be doable.

            Grab a 3d model of a brain and have a look exactly where this is and give it a thought on how you are going to get electrodes into that. It is an interesting thought exercise (only thought for now - doing anything beyond thought is extremely unrealistic).

            1. HamsterNet

              Re: VR makes me want to hurl

              I've seen it done, its call Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Totally non invasive and works very well for stimulating neurons. Unfortunately its a little crude at the moment, stimulating a way too large an area of the brain to simulate complex signals, can make peoples arms wave around.

              But give it a decade or so, some serious computing power and we get to the holoband from Caprica (Battlestar Galactica prequel).

        3. Patrician

          Re: VR makes me want to hurl

          Well, there are quite a few people playing Elite Dangerous with Occulas Rift setups that are not reporting them to be vomit inducing; so I'm guessing that your assumption is incorrect and the majority of VR users can quite happily play a space simulation with out regurgitating their lunch all over their monitors. :)

  3. Thoguht Silver badge

    Electric Chairs, Anyone?

    Getting the display to react quickly enough to head movement is still not good enough. The real problem is in-world movement such as walking, running, driving, flying, roller coasting, etc. with NO corresponding head movement, and only a motorized chair can mitigate that.

    Ever wondered why Lars von Trier's films nauseate you (apart from the genital mutilation, of course)? It's simply because he and his Cinéma Vérité predecessors insisted on the use of hand-held cameras to emulate the real-life experience of seeing things. Except that they don't at all because, as you move around, the ear's vestibular system provides inputs to the brain that compensate for the movement and cause you to perceive a relatively stable field of vision. Similarly, a motorized chair can at least in part provide the necessary vestibular stimulation for you to comfortably experience in-world movement, and over the years it's got quite good in terms of suggesting 6 degrees of freedom of movement whilst its base stays firmly rooted to the spot.

    1. AbelSoul

      Re: Electric Chairs, Anyone?

      The real problem is in-world movement such as walking, running, driving, flying, roller coasting, etc. with NO corresponding head movement, and only a motorized chair can mitigate that.

      A motorised chair won't help you with walking or running. For that you either need to go down the HTC Vive route or have one of those 360° treadmills.

      A motorised chair would certainly enhance roller coasting, driving, etc. but those experiences work well already.

      1. Thoguht Silver badge

        Re: Electric Chairs, Anyone?

        "A motorised chair won't help you with walking or running."

        Well of course you can't actually walk or run when you're sat down, but that's not the point. What the chair will do is give your vestibular system enough sensory input to make simulated walking or running less likely to nauseate you. And things like roller coasters don't work well already on many people precisely because of this lack of sensory input.

      2. mosw

        Re: Electric Chairs, Anyone?

        "A motorised chair won't help you with walking or running."

        The motorized chair could still simulate some the movements your head experiences while walking. It would just feel like a piggy back ride.

        Damn, now I am thinking about bacon again!

    2. scrubber
      Childcatcher

      Re: Electric Chairs, Anyone?

      Sega R360

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSJG5e0s43c

  4. Thomas Whipp

    Film makers?

    I have to confess to being a bit skeptic regarding immersive VR films as an art medium (and I use that term in the broad Hollywood sense). So much of how we currently make films is predicated on being able to control the framing - which essentially is a refinement of plays which operate on a stage. As a medium that's existed for thousands of years and I dont see that form of presentation disappearing as a result of this medium.

    I absolutely get the idea of VR for gaming, remote drone control/medical robots, live streaming of events (especially sports - e.g. in cockpit formula 1 feeds), possibly nature documentaries or basically any other medium where the wearer wants to exhibit control over how they are viewing something and probably have some ability to move through a scene.

    I also accept that there will probably be some films made in an immersive VR sense - but I do suspect they are going to be very much a minority and probably feel somewhat Blair Witch.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Film makers?

      So much of how we currently make films is predicated on being able to control the framing - which essentially is a refinement of plays which operate on a stage.

      People may have said the same about TV/Film when it first came about. If this takes off, I expect the first step will be as a slight enhancement to current films. Instead of getting a single, framed shot, you become immersed in the shot, able to look around (a little) and feeling that you are actually there instead of watching from a distance, filling your entire vision. This is how films started, I believe, as an extension/evolution of theatre.

      So, I predict the first VR films will still mostly control the framing, the main direction you are looking etc, but expand the frame so you feel immersed.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Film makers?

        TV came off the back of 50 years of cinema. The technology might have been different but the method of delivery was fundamentally the same i.e. a 2 dimensional picture on a flat(ish) fixed surface

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Film makers?

        "[...] I expect the first step will be as a slight enhancement to current films. Instead of getting a single, framed shot, you become immersed in the shot, able to look around (a little) [...]"

        DVDs were going to offer multiple angles that the user could select dynamically. I do not recall ever seeing the function used on a DVD - although Ridley Scott was said to be using it.

        1. D@v3

          Re: DVD angles

          I once brought a CD single, that came with a DVD which was a live recording of the song. On that DVD you could (at times) change the camera angle (view of singer / guitarist / drummer/ crowd...)

          The only other times I have seen it used have not been to change angles, but to allow alternate / deleted scenes to be inserted in to the main body of the film. While I appreciate the difference between a different camera angle, and a different scene, it seems to work in the same way from the DVD's perspective. Flash up an icon on screen, if you get the desired input, select a different track.

          On your original point though, yes, I seem to remember that it was going to revolutionise the 'viewing experience' buy letting us change camera angles, and also allow 'pick your own story' type films.

          1. Sooty

            Re: DVD angles

            It's a shame no-one uses this really, I always thought it would be great for something like a "trapped in a mansion, horror/zombie film, where you could choose to watch different bits of it all happening at the same time, with different stuff happening in them. Ie if you weren't watching the arguing teens, you could see something coming in an "empty" part of the mansion. It would mean that you'd have to watch it several times in different ways to get the whole experience.

            The main problem with a lot of interactive stories though, is that that they are ultimately limited by how chaotic they become, very quickly. Either your choices are essentially meaningless and only make minor alterations along the way, or you make multiple choices all the way through and end up with only 1 or 2 set endings to choose between. The challenge of scripting and making something that isn't like this is insane, even games don't really do it. This is why in tabletop RPG you have a human controller who is able to improvise and react to what choices you make. Having to pre-plan so much is an impossible task

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Film makers?

      It will take a while for the content creators to figure out how to effectively tell a story within VR

      https://www.youtube.com/user/oculusvr/videos

      I think the shaky found footage or Michael Bay's frenetic camera styles will disappear as that will just make people puke

      Once they figure out how to direct a viewers attention in the right way at the right time the chunder factor should go down somewhat. Remember that this is still early days. Many things still need to be figured out. Reminds me of the early heady days of the home PC boom.

      As a 3d-tv naysayer and hater; GearVR for me at least has been an absolute blast; I wouldn't spend money on a new phone for just that, but if you are in the market for an upgrade anyway its well worth a look

      I'm definitely going to be scoring a full blown OculusRift and/or Steam Vive in the new year, and I can't wait to see what the 2nd and 3rd generation of this tech will bring.

    3. AbelSoul

      Re: Film makers?

      I have to confess to being a bit skeptic regarding immersive VR films as an art medium

      If you get a chance, you should check out Sonar, a flawed yet charming short film made by Filmacademy Baden-Württemberg. It's pretty immersive and gives you a sense of the possibilities VR can bring to the movie industry.

    4. fung0

      Re: Film makers?

      "I have to confess to being a bit skeptic regarding immersive VR films as an art medium (and I use that term in the broad Hollywood sense)."

      VR will be a great medium for storytelling, but it will be an entirely new medium, that will need to evolve new ways of telling those stories. Comparisons to film are misleading at best.

      Having spent some time in various VR systems, I suspect that we don't really have a clue what the ultimate mix of applications will be. Just as when HDTV came out, all the talk was about movies. But what really changed were talk shows, concerts and above all nature documentaries. There are now whole channels consisting of people pointing a camera (often from a helicopter) at something interesting. HD enabled a whole new 'window on the world' type of entertainment. VR is a bigger paradigm shift, and it will bring bigger surprises.

    5. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Film makers?

      " As a medium that's existed for thousands of years and I dont see that form of presentation disappearing as a result of this medium."

      Actually, the conventional stage production, with its proscenium arch, is a relatively recent invention. In Shakespeare's day, theatres looked like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9uDK3xsLYk

      Interaction with the audience was much more common in such theatres. Prior to the Globe and its peers, plays were performed ad-hoc in streets, squares, etc. again, with a lot more audience participation than is the norm in a modern theatre, where the audience is far more passive. So it's not so much about learning new tricks, as re-learning old ones. Of course, most blockbuster movies have degenerated into little more than a series of spectacular set-pieces with a thinly spread smear of plot inserted to keep people on the 'rails'. Never has the description of a movie as being a "rollercoaster of a ride" ever been so literally true: such films are mostly just glorified theme park rides with bells on.

      That said, VR technology appears to be still in early First Person Shooter territory: look down and you won't see a simulacrum of your own body (or even something less disappointing). Hold your hands up before your face and nothing will happen either, so there is still a major disconnect. It's interesting that the only current device that doesn't suffer from that disconnect wasn't mentioned at all: Microsoft's Hololens. That's an AR device, but it does seem like the most likely to have uses beyond fully immersive entertainment.

      1. Fraggle850

        @Sean Timarco Baggaley Re: Film makers?

        > Microsoft's Hololens. That's an AR device

        Yup, AR: I suspect that AR will take off before VR does (and even that is a tough sell cf: glassholes)

        I gather that the hololens has some issues re: effective field of vision but I could envisage a future look-through AR device that could do 'good enough' VR for most use cases.

      2. Steve 114

        Re: Film makers?

        Weren't Mystery (mastery, = professional) Plays done on a cart with a proscenium on one side? £D with no goggles required!

  5. Fraggle850

    I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

    There are no parallels to the uptake of TV, nor even to the uptake of tablets. Where is the compelling use case to strap on an immersive headset that will effectively cut you off from the local environment? You won't be able to pick up your beer whilst watching the sport (unless it's a really clever melding of VR and AR). You will likely be tethered by a cable, at the very least to a separate wearable unit. What do I do when the adverts come on and I want to go to the loo or the kitchen? Do I have to take the kit off and put it back on when I come back? Many people use their phones or tablets whilst watching the telly, are these going to be virtualised in the VR environment? Heck, some people even talk to each other while watching the box.

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

      People talk, to each other, while consuming programming? What is this crazy talk sir?

      1. Yugguy

        Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

        Yes - in fact I would rate the ability to rewind live tv far above 3D or 4k or VR. Just being able to skip back to the important bit you missed cos everyone else is talking is fantastic IMO.

        3D TV has failed because noone really wants to even wear glasses let alone a headset. VR will have its place but as a standard in everyone's living room?

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

        "Where is the compelling use case to strap on an immersive headset that will effectively cut you off from the local environment?"

        I think you just defined it right there...

        1. Fraggle850

          Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

          > I think you just defined it right there...

          Yes, but only for the relatively small section of the general population who are otaku, hence no use case for mainstream adoption. My local environment is quite pleasant when I'm on chill time and sitting there with my good lady. Were I still a young, single bloke/teenager that would probably not be the case.

          I've just had a horrible, Matrix-like vision of emaciated youths hooked up to piss-bags, rarely leaving VR. Eeew! Probably good that VR wasn't around when I was younger...

    2. tony72

      Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

      I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

      Completely agree. Gear VR is going to be niche; sure, it's a pretty good option if you already have a Samsung phone, but am I going to buy a high-end Samsung just so I can use it? Are iPhone users going to switch en masse to use it? I don't think so. I'd rather have a separate headset that didn't depend on my phone anyway. Is the Rift going to be mass market? It's expensive (predicted $400+ for the consumer model), and you need one per user, I just can't see it as a product that everybody is going to rush out and buy, it's more in the realm of the niche expensive gaming accessories. So it's a chicken and egg situation; there just aren't going to be enough headsets out there for content creators to want to rush out and spend lots of money developing for, and without compelling content, people aren't going to rush out and buy headsets.

      Maybe when the PS5 or the next Xbox come out, if they get bundled with a decent VR headset and some compelling content at launch, at a somewhat affordable price, then you might have a situation where there are enough headsets out there to get something going. Maybe if some sort of standards are agreed so people can develop once for multiple VR platforms, that would help.

    3. Seajay#

      Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

      The technical issues, such as what happens when you need to go the the loo aren't deal breakers for early adopters and are solveable in later versions. The glasses could go transparent, or flip up, or cameras could turn them in to an AR VR combo device.

      You're spot on about the real deal breaker. For most of the time, people don't _want_ an immersive experience, they want a social experience.

      I watch The Apprentice, it's crap TV but it's conversation fodder. You can bet on who will get fired and laugh at them fucking up but that only works if you're watching it with someone. This goes right back to the beginning of mass TV adoption. In the UK at least, quite a few of those early TVs were bought so that lots of neighbours could crowd round and watch the coronation. TV upgrades are still driven by shared watching of sports events.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

        For most of the time, people don't _want_ an immersive experience, they want a social experience.

        I don't know how broadly true that is, but it's certainly true for me. The only time I watch television alone is when I happen to be eating alone - and often then I'm doing something else, like reading a book or reading something online.

        I first tried VR equipment at SIGGRAPH '89. I didn't find it interesting then, and I don't find it interesting now.

    4. naive

      Re: I think this assessment of likely uptake is wildly optimistic

      The doubts about VR developments in 2016 could be correct, except from hard core gamers using high end desktop and laptop gaming gear with NVIDIA 980 and better, gaming world uses proprietary low spec hardware with highly optimized coding like X-Box and play station.

      Things like a FOV of 180 degrees are a distant dream on current gaming consoles. There seems no competition there, just competition to sell more of 5 yo junk.

      But it would be great if it came, and no, VR will not be just for games and pr0n, that is what my manager said about internet too in 1996 after he had made an exception for himself to have it.

      VR will be great for education, Imagine teaching people dangerous work in a virtual 3D world, perhaps teaching surgeons. Immersive battle training of soldiers will create battle hardened units even before they ever entered a real life trench.

      Without doubt, VR will be the next great thing in computing. It just requires people with vision to become true, the ones thinking to get rich from milking 10 yo cows won't play a role there.

      But it is great to see that this gets picked up by companies like Sony.

  6. Necronomnomnomicon

    It's going to be video games.

    The odd experimental film is great and will help film-makers slowly figure out what they have to do to build a market. But it's video games that will get money out of wallets and headsets on heads to start with. 3D games are already doing most of the work to generating a 3D environment, it's just up to the devs to do that extra chunk of work to make it look right in VR. I don't know much about the Gear VR, but if it doesn't have a few games on par with those working with the Rift and HTC Vive, it'll not take the market by storm.

    Edit: well, games and porn. But if games aren't there, then people might not be prepared to shell out for a multi-hundred-£ wanking helmet.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: It's going to be video games.

      Yup. Games and porn, in the consumer market at least. I do see practical uses in industry, especially combined with augmented reality.

      On the other hand, I've been waiting for proper, useable, affordable VR kit for almost as long as I've been waiting for my jet pack now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's going to be video games.

      well, games and porn. But if games aren't there, then people might not be prepared to shell out for a multi-hundred-£ wanking helmet.

      It's much easier to justify an expensive gaming platform to the wife, for one thing...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's going to be video games.

      > The odd experimental film is great and will help film-makers slowly figure out what they have to do to build a market.

      I think the reality is that once the technology becomes workable in some form for mass market, the line between film and game will become very blurred indeed.

      Just look at the ideas of the "holo-novel" as seen on Star Trek, a broad defined story but with the progress driven by choices that the user makes. Would require a lot more computing power and a much more clever gameplay engine but it will come and will really make this kind of thing take off.

      1. Lamont Cranston
        Happy

        Re: "a broad defined story but with the progress driven by choices that the user makes"

        I had those when I was a boy - Choose Your Own Adventure books and Fighting Fantasy. Pretty low tech stuff (and they never attempted to trap me in the holodeck and kill me, which was a bonus).

  7. Ali on the Reg

    Moving on

    I stopped reading at "Gear VR is quite likely to be the least capable of all of the forthcoming VR systems".

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Moving on

      Why?

      1. Ali on the Reg

        Re: Moving on

        Some context; Because I've been waiting for VR since the early 1990s and I want the best experience possible. I started saving 3 months ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Moving on

          I started saving 3 months ago.

          You have a save/restore feature on LIFE 1.0?

  8. Joerg

    It will be a failure just like fake 3D glasses...

    It won't be a success.

    The fake 3D.. the lame stereoscopic 3D failed mainly due to people needing to wear glasses (anyway the quality sucks and it hurts human eyes).

    Anyone seriously thinking that the new marketing facade that is the huge VR glasses are going to be a huge success must be dreaming and believing in fairy tales.

    It will not happen. The whole VR thing is DOA already.

    1. genghis_uk

      Re: It will be a failure just like fake 3D glasses...

      @Joerg I think you missed the point - the 3D TV fad requires you to watch a TV while wearing glasses and it gives a sort of 3D effect similar to cinema.

      With VR headsets you wear the TV - it appears to be huge and it moves with your head. They may not look overly cool but the headset attached to a games console will give you a very immersive experience that you simply cannot achieve with 3D glasses.

      It's moved on a lot since I was playing with VPL Eyephones in the 90's...

  9. Measurer

    So...

    Will 2018 be the year of Linux on the headset?

  10. imanidiot Silver badge

    I'll believe it when I see it happening.

    I really don't see VR headsets moving into the mainstream. The point about telly is that most people don't actually watch it. Nowadays it mostly provides background noise while people surf the net or play games on their phones/tables/laptops/computers. On top of that a single television allows multiple people to view the same thing. With VR i'd have to buy a headset for EVERY viewer. I see more downsides than positives for VR as a "replacement" of television.

    1. Sooty

      Re: I'll believe it when I see it happening.

      it depends, things like google cardboard open up a world of possibilities.

      I've got one, and it's really interesting as a gimmick, but there is no real content for it and it's limited by the processing power of the phone it's running on. But, if you extend the concept of something like the TrineVR experiment, which uses the phone as a wireless VR headset that a proper computer can broadcast a game to, and use the sensor data from, then it becomes a whole new matter. Installing an app on your phone and popping it into a sub £10 holder, is a very, very, easy way to get an entry level VR headset to "give it a go". The sensors in a phone may not be ideal, but they work, and if this takes off they'd be upgraded in the next gen phones.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    VR films ? Not likely.

    A film is a story. A story is told effectively when you concentrate on the relevant elements and ignore the mundane, humdrum stuff that has absolutely no interest to getting the story to move along. That's why you never see James Bond at the airport to get to his next exotic location.

    VR films would be films in which, theoretically, you could choose to watch the plant in the airport lounge instead of watching the crazy kung-fu fight between the main protagonists. I doubt that will be allowed, the producer is going to want to know why he should fund however many cameras to shoot angles that have got nothing to do with the action that is the basis of the story.

    As for VR in porn, sorry but no chance. Shoestring budget issues aside, producers in that industry absolutely do not want you watching anything else than what they want to show you - <ahem> from what I've seen heard.

    So, VR in games ? Absolutely. Sandbox games are all the rage right now, and VR lends itself perfectly to that experience. Racing games will do okay with VR, but like 3D in films, it will bring next to nothing to the experience.

    And apart from that ? Nothing. Films are a passive experience by nature, VR will bring next to nothing to that.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: VR films ? Not likely.

      VR films strike me as a slightly silly idea (I've never been in the middle of a film and wished I could peer up at the boom mike), but I'd take issue with the claim that "producers in that industry absolutely do not want you watching anything else than what they want to show you" - if you've bought the Bluray/download/whatever, they've got your money, so why would they care that you spend 90 minutes watching a pot plant?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: VR films ? Not likely.

        why would they care that you spend 90 minutes watching a pot plant?

        Indeed, I dare say a large portion of the Blu-Ray market is consumers who typically spend the 90 minutes doing something involving a pot plant.

  12. spitfire31

    What about audio, then?

    VR will be a dream come true for flight simulators – the gaming variety and professional training. I watched my daughter (now a captain) spend countless hours with X-Plane on a crappy PC, flying navigations and approaches. VR will be a whole new ballgame.

    And yes, I'm chafing at the bit to be able to turn my head to look for that 109 or Zero on my six!

    Nobody has mentioned a very important component yet – audio.

    If we have 360 degrees visual freedom, we'll also need at least 5+1 surround in a head worn device, won't we? AND, the software has to pan and mix all the tracks (with the exception of the +1, the bass, arbitrarily, depending on head movements.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: What about audio, then?

      Audio only needs two channels if you have a motion sensing headset. Read up on binaural. A two channel full surround system since 1970s for headphones only... but as if your head is clamped in one place. Stereo is designed for speakers. If DSP is used to convert it to Binaural it is far better on headphones.

      The two binaural channels can be processed via DSP from four channels, spatially representing a tetrahedron. The 5.1 is purely a cinema gimmick. (the .1 is effects can be generated from even stereo, the 5th is easily generated from the L & R front channels. A proper surround feed would have the equivalent of four cardioid microphones arranged in tetrahedron. Then in real time the DSP creates the appropriate angle of binaural (see: dummy head recording) as the head is rotated and tilted. Generating the audio is considerably less work than real time 3D game rendering.

      Generation of decent 3D content rather than stereoscopic from real life video recording is nearly impossible. Using a remote real time pair of video cameras is trivial. The camera platform simply follows your head movement. In that scenario, stereoscopic video is 3D even if you are blind in one eye! Fixed view Stereoscopic video is rubbish compared to Stereo (speakers) or binaural (headphones) audio.

  13. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Colour me impressed...

    I had the chance to try out one of these a while back and - having grown up when Virtuality was the latest novelty at the Trocadero - I was impressed... even through my glasses, there were no problems with the visual.

    For this to really take off though, we need an accepted "standard interface" - remember how it took some time for mobile games to go beyond simply having an onscreen joystick & buttons just crowbarred in over a desktop port?

    I think that the first step is to enhance headset movement sensors to be able to tell the difference between movement of the head and the whole upper body, as this would then give a "dual stick" capacity - I can see FPS style games where you lean with your body to move and shoot in the direction you are looking...

  14. John Sanders
    Pirate

    Give me a 3D enabled VLC...

    Give me a version of Videolan (or Kodi) with a 3D interface that can simulate a cinema theatre, where I can choose which chair to sit, and I will buy one for each member of the family as of tomorrow.

    On-demand gourmet Cinema!

  15. Ian 7

    Bollocks

    It's all bollocks. A small uptick from early adopters, then a sad, slow death.

    I said it about smartphones and I said it about 3D TV, so I've got a 50% track record of being correct about these things. Which is much better accuracy than your average highly-paid technology pundit, but not significantly different from that of a 1 pence piece flipped high in the air in a roly-poly fashion.

  16. SnowCrash

    I do wonder how many people have actually tried the current gen VR rigs? I have and yes, the technology has a long way to go. I can only spend about 90mins with the headset on before I get a headache but it's still an immersive experience in the sim.

    Better screens and lower latency are two issues I've experienced, one being a pure hardware issue and the other a combination of hardware and software.

  17. Stevie Silver badge

    2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it

    On the Linux desktop?

    Ow! Owowowowow!

  18. Dick Emery

    At last mai waifu is within my fumbling range!

    Social anxiety aficionados rejoice!

  19. Zmodem

    samsung VR, complete with only the on/off switch

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