By now, VR or Virtual Reality technology already permeated the smartphone market, with various brands like Lenovo, Google, and Samsung. Not only that, but these same brands probably have their own brand of VR-focused products, like the Samsung Gear or the Google Daydream.
It’s honestly great tech, but there are obvious limitations that have probably popped up by now. First, we haven’t exactly hit that sweet spot where most people can afford a VR setup that can play realistic graphics. What I mean is VR programs like games, apps, and VR experiences need a certain amount of power to display visuals that won’t strain the eyes or give you a headache because they look so fake. It’s a work in progress, of course, and VR tech continues to advance. But the problem still stands.
Second, there isn’t exactly a lot of space where people can explore the world of a VR game. If you have a small room with a lot of junk, you’ll most likely bump into it even though the VR displays an open field. An often-done solution would be to devote a large room just for VR gaming or for VR use, but that just seems too costly for most users.
But this is where Mixed Reality, or hybrid reality, takes down all the problems of VR. In a nutshell, Mixed Reality takes elements from both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. It projects digital objects and items over the real world. These items often allow manipulation or interaction, in fact.
Another big thing about Mixed Reality is that it adapts to the space available to it. If the space is small, the Mixed Reality device and program will rearrange the digital objects to fit the space. For example, the Microsoft Hololens contains cameras that will constantly assess the available space around it, in real time. Then, it will change the placement of digital objects based on what it detected. In a game like Fragments, a mystery adventure Mixed Reality game, characters will appear in reasonable places where space is available, like a hallway, or an unoccupied corner of a room.
With that said, I honestly think that Mixed Reality is where VR companies should invest in and pursue. Remember the two big contentions I had with modern VR tech? Well, we already discussed how Mixed Reality solves the space issue. But what about graphics? Admittedly, while the Microsoft Hololens, for example, shows really good character models and textures, they’re still not super realistic.
However, the fact that the cameras will show you the real world as the backdrop helps a lot. Especially with making users suspend their disbelief, and more specifically, avoid getting motion sickness from purely digital VR layouts. In addition, Mixed Reality technology can detect the dimensions in front of it. Therefore, games and apps will have the opportunity to get creative with real life items and architectures.
Of course, that’s not to say companies have perfected Mixed Reality technology. The tech itself is still pretty costly in comparison, actually. But I’m positive that soon enough it’ll be at a price that most folks can afford, like with current VR devices. All in all, if you’re wondering what virtual reality games will look like once they’re common place, my best bet would be on Mixed Reality.