The promise of technology capable of immersing its user in 3-D gaming and video has game and tech enthusiasts gasping for news of a possible release. Yet, for the past couple of years, companies tackling such virtual reality headsets have faced a major inconvenient: nausea. But the wait may be coming to an end, several companies announce, as polished versions of their devices may be getting ready for much awaited virtual reality launches in 2015.
Oculus VR, the company which arguably captured the much attention, has announced that it expects its devices to hit the shelves by the end of 2015. By partnering up with Samsung, the Facebook owned company hopes to provide a headset that uses Samsung’s mobile phone as a screen.
John Carmack, Oculus technology chief noted that the timeframe was reasonable even for the most impatient of gamers , mentioning that the devices reaching the public would not be significantly different from the prototypes that the company has already presented.
Apart from Oculus, other potentially big players are also gearing up for what seems to be a Virtual Reality race. Project Morhpeus, Sony’s own virtual reality device, is also expected to start shipping soon. The PlayStation 4 console headset, Sony announced, should become available during the first half of 2016. Valve, the well-known game maker and retailer has made an announcement of its own. It partnered up with HTC in order to provide a Virtual Reality headset designed in collaboration before the end of 2015. As befitting Valve, this new device will be called Vive.
“I think that virtual reality is bigger than gaming,” Carmack said during the Games Developers Conference on Wednesday. “I honestly do see a world with a billion people using virtual reality headsets.”
During the same conference, Mr. Carmack didn’t shy away from addressing exactly the reason for Oculus’ delay in shipping the public version of its VR headset: motion sickness as well as eyestrain had to be dealt with before a safe product could begin to be offered to the public. Carmack even joked about the company’s prototypes, saying that he was surprised that no YouTube videos had been made public where people using the VR headsets were vomiting.
“I am kind of surprised that we don’t have more people-vomiting-with-Gear-VR YouTube videos out by now, because I am sure it has happened someplace and someone must have caught it on video.”
And while the Virtual Reality technology does open a particularly promising sales perspective, TechSavvy Global chief of video game consulting, Scott Steinberg underlines that there’s still a long way to go until companies can truly understand if VR gaming could actually translate into major mainstream interest and massive sales.