I’ve found myself having a lot more conversations about VR technology recently. Mainly because it’s the technology kick I’m most interested in of late, but really because this year  in particular is a big turning point. For those not up to speed on why this year is different here is a short recap of VR on the move:
- Late Nov 2015 Samsung releases the “consumer” version of Gear VR headset.
- Off and on Feb 2016 through this month Samsung has offered promotions to give the Gear VR away for free with the purchase of a new compatible phone
- March 2016 Oculus releases the consumer Oculus Rift
- April 2016 Valve releases the HTC Vive
- Earlier this year Sony announced that PlayStation VR will be released in Oct
- A few weeks ago Google announced Daydream, the successor to Google Cardboard
This is a lot more movement in one year on the VR front from any other year. At the same time there has been, obviously, a rise in companies that are getting into the VR content/hardware arena.
- Every other month this year Facebook upgrades, acquires, or announces VR technology and content changes.
- Sketchfab (a 3D content portal [for lack of a better description]) just recently launched Sketchfab VR that allows you to view any of the models, scenes, etc in VR. Essentially making it easy for users to upload content and make them instantly VR accessible. Think “YouTube of VR”, at least that is how Mashable put it.
- More products like these are released to allow consumers to produce VR content
And just a couple of weeks ago, one of the crazier things I’ve seen this year, at least 3 companies announce backpack PCs. Yeah, backpacks. You know, because the higher-end VR sets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) need fairly powerful PCs to run the graphics (much more than the phone based ones). So with those higher-end PCs you have wires running to your goggles which tend to end tangled up as you are twirling around in a 360 degree environment. The solution is to wear the computer on your back.
So it’s an exciting year for VR but it’s just the beginning.