This morning I toured Viveland, HTC’s brand new showroom for all their latest virtual reality games and gear. I had known that VR had come a long way in recent years, but I had no idea it had come this far…..
The showroom is part of an electronics and technology mecca that Taiwan has built spanning 8 floors in Taipei’s ultra modern Syntrend shopping center.
There were a dozens of different VR experiences to be had, from driving a race car as in the picture above…..
To these bizarro egg pod roller coaster simulators that tilted, turned and shook mimicking every twist and dive in the virtual ride…….
To others that weren’t properly set up yet but left me scratching my head in wonder over what they would be…..
But by far the best display they had was this first person shooter that honestly felt a little too real. I remember my palms sweating as I fumbled through a box of magazines to frantically reload a clip in my assault rifle while enemy soldiers quickly approached, only to then have a tank come around the corner forcing me to drop my gun so I could pick up a rocket launcher which I had to hold vertically in order to load a rocket into its chamber and then re-position to fire.
We are quickly entering a world in which our virtual worlds are becoming nearly indistinguishable from the real world. The 2018 release of Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One promises to launch VR into the mainstream, it seems very possible that by then, or shortly thereafter, we will have truly immersive and completely captivating virtual worlds to step into.
All told, Virtual Reality has come much further than I expected. It’s still a few years away from becoming the ubiquitous tool that it will be once the price drops and more content is created, yet it’s become very clear that VR and AR technologies are on the brink of disrupting many parts of our lives.
VR is also bringing back to life some of philosophies deepest unanswered questions…