Facebook Inc. vs. Sony Corporation: Who Will Win the VR Market in 2016?

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Burning the Calories by working out with Virtual Reality Bike VirZOOM.

The worlds of gaming, sports, live music, commerce and adult entertainment are all primed for a revolutionary consumption shift with the advent of virtual reality (VR). A new stationary bike from Boston startup VirZoom requires an unusual accessory while you’re pedalling: a virtual reality headset, so you can turn your workout into a virtual adventure.

is a VR startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which indulges you in an immersive world of video games as you trade your sweat beads while pedaling on a static bike.We have had a go ourselves on PlayStation VR and have found the technology amazing, making you feel like you’re literally living within the game world.Virtual reality technology is fast becoming a popular trend among consumers, and especially gamers looking for a more immersive experience with their multimedia.

Last week, I pulled an Oculus developer headset over my eyes and settled onto the bicycle, which will retail for $250 (about Rs.16,578) when it ships next year. But there are fears that the VR push could end up being another flash-in-the-pan gimmick like 3D telly, which many now believe has died a death, and motion sensor gaming like with the original faded Wii console. “When you remember 3D TV and 3D stereoscopic gaming, every single game, or even movie, pretty much the experience was the same as playing on your regular TV except for there’s a little bit of depth inside the TV. “The relationship between the player and the TV was exactly the same and unfortunately – this was actually a technical limitation that I was personally disappointed in. “Because the tech was such that in many cases, there were compromises, or a choice where when you get the depth of 3D stereoscopic tech for games, you could lose either resolution or framerate, and that’s a huge trade-off. “In addition to pretty much the same games, only instead we were playing using 3D stereoscopic tech, we had to put up with some lost framerate or responses, or the resolution in exchange for added depth inside the TV.” He added: “Virtual-reality tech allows, for the first time in the history of games, developers to put the player inside the game, not in front of the TV outside of the game’s walls. “The other thing is that, in a lot of the cases of peripherals, either they’re tied to one game or they’re tied to one company and they aren’t really compatible with anything else, so you have one company trying to get a bunch of content made for this one device and that’s asking quite a bit of a game developer for that to happen. “We’ve tried, and in some cases have been successful, in some cases not. It’s almost the end of 2015 and with that, CES 2016 is not far away as new and exciting products will be unveiled to the world as is usually the case every year.

Companies such as Samsung with their Galaxy Gear VR headsets are allowing users to experience artificially created environments through smartphones paired with the VR technology. Virtual reality, nestled under your tree, for the low, low price of only $99 (plus the $500 Samsung smartphone you need to actually power the Gear VR headset). With several virtual reality headsets for consumers coming out this year — including Oculus’s anticipated ‘Rift’ — excitement is growing around applications like gaming.

They have some level of success. “But in this case, there are multiple platforms for VR that are occurring simultaneously, so a content developer can make things and potentially see it go across multiple platforms, and that helps them out a lot. Tracking head movements, displaying 3D imagery through stereo screens, the Oculus Rifit has made a name for itself as one of the most popular virtual reality systems on the market. This “VR,” dubbed “mobile VR,” relative to true VR, is like thinking of your car phone (brick phone) relative to today’s powerful smartphone. Gear VR allows us to sit front row at an NBA Warriors game or go backstage at a Nicki Minaj concert (thanks to content from NextVR and Jaunt) — but, it is a passive experience.

Military people have used this tech to help soldiers better familiarize themselves to new environments of combat before actually entering into the real-life battle zone. According to Android Authority, the White House is now offering a holiday themed 360-degree VR tour with videos created by Google’s JUMP VR consisting of 16 GoPro units. It’s like I’m Ebenezer Scrooge, floating alongside the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, through Charles Dickens’ ethereal journey in A Christmas Carol. Primarily, it will be exclusive to Oculus Rift headset, but versions are being developed currently to accommodate other gaming platforms as well, before its official release.

We’ll have an install base of about 25-35 million Sony PlayStation 4s, and Sony’s VR headset, PlayStation VR, will have an avid and waiting fan base of gamers to buy it. The platform will eventually open up to developers, but for now VirZoom is building its first five games from scratch because its team worries that the types of motion in existing games could make users sick. The VR unit that arrives in five sub-gaming unit will be available for $249.95 while making a pre-order will cost you $199.95 respectively, as a part of an early access special basis for first adopters. It looks as if the rising popularity of VR headsets will usher in a new wave of consumable tech that has the potential to draw in huge crowds of people. The VR bike will also include VirZOOM Plus’ free subscription for a month, which provides users with every content regarding data tracking for fitness purpose, access to latest VR Games, online multi-player support system, latest contents for games, and so much more.

The applications for VR are very broad and it may be just a matter of time until we see people walking down the street with headsets on with an exact view of their surroundings. That said, Oculus, HTC and Sony have developed “true VR” — i.e., games and content that allow the user to feel truly immersed, so far as they can interact with the world and other VR users around them — a stark difference to the largely passive experience offered by mobile VR to date. While VirZoom will cost $250, buyers will also have to factor in the cost of a headset (still undetermined for the three supported ones, which are all slated for release in 2016). It is unlikely that the miserly Ebenezer would ever consider paying the non-trivial $1,000 (or more) to buy an appropriate PC to run these advanced VR headsets.

And the Vive and Rift will need to be tethered to a powerful desktop computer, while the ‘PlayStation VR’ will have to connect to a PlayStation 4. He thought it was boring and the VR environment made him feel sick because it doesn’t emulate real life physics properly (a huge problem for all VR developers). The high price point (and more technical user requirements for a PC-based headset) presents an impediment to building and scaling an audience quickly.

This means that any kind of ad-supported, free-to-play business models are a ways off; you need lots of eyeballs and players before you can make meaningful revenue as a content creator. Headsets will likely be too expensive and delicate for gymnasiums to lend out to attendees in a spin class at a gym, and I’m guessing people may not be too keen on sharing sweaty headsets — I know mine felt pretty gross when I was done with my workout. A rich, easy-to-monetize content ecosystem, like that provided by Google and Apple on mobile, is necessary for the flywheel of content creation and consumption to spin faster and faster. In the near term, we will only see VR content funding from the headset manufacturers themselves, and from brands who see VR as a way to look cool and edgy.

For example, imagine having free range of motion inside a family video replay, walking around your child’s birthday party video and seeing the looks on everyone’s faces, enjoying these memories in a whole new way. That means a design sense like that which Apple’s Jony Ive brings to technology products, making a device that is ergonomically and aesthetically beautiful.

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