March 2, 2021

Virtual reality matures and the industry adjusts its expectations | Technology

Virtual reality matures and the industry adjusts its expectations | Technology

Promotional image of Vive, by HTC. VIDEO: GETTY | LIVES

For four years, in the Game Developers Conference (GDC) of San Francisco, there is a parallel event dedicated exclusively to virtual reality, the VRGDC. This conference brings every year the latest in this industry. If 2016 was the year of illusion, in which virtual reality was sold as the most disruptive technology since television, 2018 was the jug of cold water that met expectations.

This year, and especially judging by the VRGDC, it seems that virtual reality is finally aimed at slower growth, but also more stable. Matures when establishing already in the entertainment sector as one more offer. This year the development of videogames is growing in this medium, but above all it highlights the large number of presentations of virtual reality helmets from the main companies in the sector, such as Facebook with Oculus Rift S.


The virtual reality platform of the HTC company, called Vive, will launch three models this year focused on different users. On the one hand, the helmet without cables or mobiles, Live Pro Eye, which has motion sensors that capture the look inside the game and that will be sold mostly to gamers. For the general public, HTC will launch in the coming months the Live Cosmos, which itself will be connected to a PC while the Live Focus will be specially designed for companies, either for training videos or virtual conferences. HTC also makes available to its customers VivePort, a platform for applications, games and virtual videos.

Helmets for PC and 4k

Within this category this year represents a true flood. Apart from the Rift S, HP introduced Reverb, which outperforms many of its competitors in graphics and weight, as it is lighter with just 500 grams. Other helmets that are not connected to cables and that promise a quality of 4k, are the new Pico Goblin 2, of the Chinese company Pico Interactive, that like HTC also wants to focus on companies and is offered directly as a tool of training and entertainment for clients (dentist's office, transportation, etc).

HP helmets.
HP helmets.

Other giants like Samsung already launched earlier this year news like the Odyssey +, a helmet of mixed reality, while Sony PlayStation VR2 could arrive later this year, with a helmet without cables. On the other hand, Nintendo presented in the GDC the unclassifiable cardboard glasses Labo for Switch. It is not clear if it is a toy or a cheap glasses with hardly any resolution, but Nintendo Labo at least seems very fun to use.


Three years ago, those from Mountain View did not surprise with a new Oculus Rift for PC and this new iteration, called Rift S, promises more graphic resolution, higher lens quality and a fifth motion sensor. But what it adds in extras also adds it in grams and the helmet is noticeably heavier than its predecessor.

The other helmet of Oculus is Quest, that like the previous model Go, does not need cables nor that a mobile is inserted to him to work. Although it was presented a few months ago, it has finally become official in the GDC and it is already known that the price in the United States will be $ 399 (approximately 352 euros). It would be an exaggeration to say that Quest may be the great white hope of virtual reality, but last year Oculus Go sold more than a million units since its launch in May, infusing a bit of extra air into the sluggish market for virtual helmets. in 2018.


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