The first batch of VR headsets is here and yet fans are already looking forward to the next generation. 2016 wasn’t quite the virtual reality revolution that some had initially predicted, but it did help to set the stage for what’s to come. The market has been established and the technology keeps getting better. As the hardware becomes more ubiquitous many developers are planning to take full advantage of this exciting new field.
The leaders of the pack have established themselves, and it looks as though accessibility and affordability are more important to consumers right now than pure power. We’ve got the first quarter numbers for the most popular headsets, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the most affordable options are leading the pack. The Samsung Gear VR is by far the most popular headset with nearly 800,000 units sold. It’s also worth noting that the Gear VR is frequently packaged with the Samsung phones themselves, which somewhat skews the numbers. The same can be said for the Google Daydream, the third highest-selling headset, although it’s bundled with a significantly smaller number of devices.
These sales numbers are still a big deal for Google because it seems virtual reality is going to be a big part of the company’s business plan moving forward. It has been reported that Google recently purchased Owlchemy Labs, a VR game studio best known for the recently released Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, as well as the popular VR launch title, Job Simulator.
But the overarching point of note is that the VR endeavors that seem to be the most popular are those that are able to be paired with mobile devices. There are billions of smartphones in the world, and having even a small fraction of them capable of supporting VR would make for a significantly higher number of compatible devices than the number of powerful PC’s that are able to support the (admittedly impressive) experiences offered by high-end hardware like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Advancing the level of immersion in video games has long been the goal of many developers, and this also extends beyond the sphere of virtual reality. Online and mobile developers are constantly looking for new ways to make the experience more real for their players and nowhere is this more evident than in online casino gaming. The web-based platforms in this genre, as well as their mobile counterparts, have introduced live dealer options that help gamers experience a real casino with the ability to chat and make friends from the comfort of their own home. This is accomplished by allowing for a real-time video feed between the player and an actual dealer, as opposed to cards generated by a software program. As these options are also available on mobile devices, and VR headsets are becoming more prominently used as additional displays, it’s only a matter of time until we also see these games take advantage of VR technology.
Above all, it’s important to remember that VR is still a new technology and it’s going to take time for people to come around. As more devices continue to come into the market and more consumers start to adapt there will be a greater demand more investment in the market. It’s an exciting time for virtual reality and people should be ready to see the market explode in the near future, especially when it comes to mobile.