How VR Will Go Beyond Traditional Gaming

How VR Will Go Beyond Traditional Gaming

Over the course of 2016 we've come to recognize virtual reality as the next frontier of gaming. With some headsets currently available and others set for release in the coming months, we've begun to experience a number of new games across a variety of genres. In particular, VR appears to be promising for racing games, shooters, and creative or building games (such as Minecraft, which may have had the most stunning VR demo yet). 

But we're also beginning to see that VR has applications that go far beyond traditional gaming. Other interactive experiences are going to help drive the market as it develops in the coming years, and in some cases they're even more fascinating than the video games. Let's look through a few examples. 

Trailers & Films

We've actually seen various film-related experiences being released for VR. At CES 2016 back in January, there was a lot of noise about an interactive experience based on The Martian, and we've since seen promotional content for blockbuster movies. For instance, the sequel to Independence Day, which is now in theaters, released a trailer for VR Cardboard. It was intended to be viewed on smartphones with the Google Cardboard apparatus (which basically turns your phone into a VR screen). And now we're hearing early rumors about entire films being designed for VR viewing. Like 3D, this seems unlikely to completely transform cinema, but through both promotional trailers and whole films, VR will likely carve out its own niche for movie lovers. 

Casino Evolution

The evolution of online casinos over the years has actually been pretty fascinating. We've moved from crude imitations of digital poker, to interactive competitive environments, and now to sites that just about fully simulate the casino experience. But one of the more recent developments in this evolution may be a harbinger for VR. At Gala's online bingo platform, we've seen the emergence of live caller bingo rooms, which involve video feeds of actual people calling out numbers as you play. Given that we've already seen the introduction of an early poker game for VR platforms, it's not hard to imagine the idea of live interaction taking hold in a more meaningful way. Whether it's considered gaming or a more general form of entertainment, casinos on VR devices are likely going to explode at some point. 

Real Estate

This is a category you might not expect to see in an article about virtual reality, and yet it's one that can help you to see just how vast the impact of VR headsets may actually be. Just think about it: when people are looking into new properties they may consider buying or renting, they usually want to get a feel for them visually. That can involve clicking through photos or virtual "tours," or simply visiting properties in person. But an article at Realtor Mag pointed out that the idea of a virtual tour can become more realistic and effective. With a VR headset, someone looking to buy a home can now effectively walk through that home without ever visiting it! 

Military & Space Training

Live Science did a thorough write-up of VR applications beyond gaming, and noted that both space exploration and military training could be enhanced by VR headsets. Where space is concerned, it was explained that we could actually use VR and motion capture technology to control rovers like the ones we've already explored Mars with. And with regard to military training, it's mentioned that noncommercial versions of popular video games have already been in use as training mechanisms for soldiers. Naturally, the increased focus on the development and enhancement of VR devices will only improve both of these applications. 

Health Care

Finally, the potential for VR to affect the health care industry is seemingly limitless. This is another category that was mentioned in the Live Science article, where it was explained that VR can already be used to explore patients' anatomy and to help rehabilitate victims of stroke or brain injury. With VR headsets, we can examine the body and manipulate the senses in entirely new ways, and the potential for this ability to enhance treatments is off the charts. 

These considerations represent a mere portion of the potential for VR beyond the world of gaming. We're only scratching the surface of how these devices will impact our lives, and there appears to be all kinds of exciting applications that aren't yet getting mainstream attention. 

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