Community Download: What Are Your Predictions For CES 2020?

Community Download is a weekly discussion-focused articles series published (usually) every Monday in which we pose a single, core question to you all, our readers, in the spirit of fostering discussion and debate. For today, we want to know what you think is going to be announced or unveiled at CES 2020?

The new year just started and it’s already time for the first big tech industry event. The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas, NV this week and we’ll be on the ground at the show trying out demos, conducting interviews, visiting with companies, and streaming all of the latest footage and impressions from the cutting edge of our industry.

A lot happened at CES last year, such as the reveal of the HTC Vive Cosmos and HTC Vive Pro Eye, new VR controllers, the announcement of the GeForce RTX 2060, and other big news like Viveport Infinity. You can read all about the biggest headlines for the VR/AR industry from CES 2019 last year right here.

Facebook’s Oculus usually doesn’t have a big presence at the show since PAX East and GDC are both right around the corner, neither do companies like PlayStation (although Sony’s non-gaming divisions are usually in attendance) or Valve. We’re expecting a downplayed presence from HTC this time around as well.

So what do you think is in store for VR/AR at CES 2020? Will 5G make some big leaps? Is streaming content the future of VR like it wants to be for traditional gaming? What are your best and boldest predictions for CES 2020?

Let us know down in the comments below!

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Oculus Connect: Where Facebook’s Chief Researcher Michael Abrash Predicts The Future Of VR

NOTE: this article was originally published September 20.

For the last half-decade at each Oculus Connect, Facebook’s top VR researcher presented an annual look at the future of the technology.

The research-focused talk by Michael Abrash is a highlight of the annual conference hosted by Facebook and we’ll hope to see a similar update during Oculus Connect 6. Hired from Valve, Abrash built up Facebook’s long-term VR research efforts first at Oculus Research and then under its new name Facebook Reality Labs.

You can watch everything he said about the future of the technology during his presentations from 2014 to 2018 in the video below.

Oculus Connect (2014)

Abrash offers an overview of Oculus Research and tries addressing the question of — with VR failing to reach mass adoption in the past — why it is going to be different this time.

“In a very real sense its the final platform,” he says. “The one which wraps our senses and will ultimately be able to deliver any experience that we’re capable of having.”

He says Oculus Research is the first well-funded VR research team in 20 years and their job is to do the “deep, long-term work” of advancing “the VR platform.” He points to a series of key areas they plan to pursue including eye tracking. The idea behind foveated rendering is that if you track the eyeball’s movements fast and reliably enough you could build a VR headset which only draws the most detailed parts of a scene directly where you are looking. He also described the fixed focal depth of modern VR headsets as “not perceptually ideal” and admits they can “cause discomfort” or “may make VR subtly less real” while hinting at “several possible ways” of addressing this problem requiring new hardware and changes to the rendering model.

“This is what it looks like when opportunity knocks,” he says.

Oculus Connect 2 (2015)

In late 2015 Abrash outlines a more specific series of advances required to drive human senses with VR technology. He says he’s fine leaving the sense of taste to future VR researchers, and both touch and smell require the development of breakthroughs in delivery techniques. He also discusses the vestibular system — which he describes as our internal accelerometer and gyroscope for sensing change in orientation and acceleration  — and that “conflict between our vestibular sense and what you see is a key cause of discomfort.”

“Right now there’s no traction on the problem,” he says.

For hearing, though, there’s a “clear path to doing it almost perfectly,” he says. “Clear doesn’t mean easy though.” He breaks down three elements of audio simulation as Synthesis (“the creation of source sounds”), Propagation (“how sound moves around a space”), and Spatialization (“the direction of incoming sound”) and the difficulties involved in doing all three well.

“We understand the equations that govern sound but we’re orders of magnitude short of being able to run a full simulation in real time even for a single room with a few moving sound sources and objects,” he says.

He predicts that in 20 years you’ll be able to hear a virtual pin drop “and it will sound right — the interesting question is how close we’ll be able to get in five years.”

Future Vision

He describes “photon delivery systems” as needing five attributes which are often in conflict with one another, requiring trade-offs in field of view, image quality, depth of focus, high dynamic range and all-day ergonomics.

“All currently known trade offs are a long way from real-world vision,” he says.

He provides the following chart showing the current market standard and the “desired” attributes of a future VR vision system.Michael Abrash Research 2015 Vision Attributes

Reconstructing Reality And Interaction

Abrash describes other areas of intense interest for Facebook’s VR research as scene reconstruction as well as body tracking and human reconstruction. Interaction and the development of dexterous finger control for VR is a particularly difficult problem to solve, he adds.

“There’s no feasible way to fully reproduce real-world kinematics,” he says. “Put another way, when you put your hand down on a virtual table there’s no known or prospective consumer technology that would keep your hand from going right through it.”

He says it is very early days and the “first haptic VR interface that really works will be world-changing magic on par with the first mouse-based windowing systems.”

Oculus Connect 3 (2016)

Facebook’s PC-powered Oculus Rift VR headset launched in 2016 but Facebook hadn’t yet shipped the Oculus Touch controllers for them just yet. Echoing the comments he made in 2015, he says “haptic and kinematic” technology “that isn’t even on the distant horizon” is needed to enable the use of your hands as “direct physical manipulators.” As a result, he says, “Touch-like controllers will still be the dominant mode for sophisticated VR interactions” in five years.

The prediction came in a series as Abrash essentially outlines what a new PC-powered Rift made in 2021 might be able to achieve. The biggest risk to many of his predictions, though, is that eye-tracking quality required for many advances in VR displays is not a solved problem. It is “central to the future of VR,” he says. He suggests foveated rendering is even key to making a wireless PC VR headset work.

“Eliminating the tether will allow you to move freely about the real world while in VR yet still have access to the processing power of a PC,” he said. 

He said he believes virtual humans will still exist in the uncanny valley and that “convincingly human” avatars will be longer than five years away.

Oculus Connect 4 (2017)

At Oculus Connect 4 in 2017 Facebook changed the Abrash update into a conversational format. Among the questions raised for Abrash was how his research teams contribute to VR products at the company.

“There’s nothing in the current generation that has come from us,” he said. ” But there is certainly a number of things that we could see over the next few years.”

While there isn’t a lot about the future in this session the following comment helped explain what he sees as the purpose of Facebook’s VR and AR research:

“How do we get photons into your eyes better, how do we give you better computer vision for self-presence, for other people’s presence, for the surroundings around you. How do we do audio better, how do we let you interact with the world better — it is a whole package and each piece can move forward some on its own but in the long run you really want all the pieces to come together. And one really good example is suppose that we magically let you use your hands perfectly in VR, right? You just reach out, you grab virtual objects — well remember that thing I said about where you’re focused? Everything within hand’s length wouldn’t actually be very sharp and well focused right. So you really to solve that problem too. And it just goes on and on like that where you need all these pieces to come together in the right system and platform.”

Oculus Connect 5 (2018)

At last year’s Oculus Connect conference Abrash updated some of his predictions from 2016. While they were originally slated for arrival in high-end VR headsets in 2021, this time he says he thinks they’ll likely be in consumer hands by 2022.

He suggests in this presentation that the rate of advancement in VR is ramping up faster than he predicted thanks to the parallel development of AR technology.

He suggests new lenses and waveguide technology might have a huge impact on future display systems. He also says that foveated rendering and great eye tracking still represent a risk to his predictions, but now he’s comfortable committing to a prediction that “highly reliable” eye tracking and foveated rendering “should be doable” by 2022.

“Audio presence is a real thing,” Abrash said of Facebook’s sound research. “It may take longer than I thought.”

Abrash showed Facebook’s work on “codec avatars” for convincing human avatar reconstructions and suggests that it is possible these might arrive along the same time frame as his other predictions — 2022.

He also makes his longest-term prediction in saying he believes by the year 2028 we’ll have “useful haptic hands in some form.”michael abrash ar vr oculus connect 5

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CES 2019 Predictions: VR’s Next Generaton Is Still Developing

CES 2019 Predictions: VR’s Next Generaton Is Still Developing

We are just four days into 2019 and preparing to head to Las Vegas to see all the companies revealing products and components at the largest consumer electronics show of the year, CES.

We’ll also be stopping by The Void’s Vegas location to see Wreck It Ralph VR and we are planning to check out attractions at other Vegas VR locations while we’re there.

At CES the world’s global technology industry gauges interest and sets expectations for the coming year. We expect HTC to be out in front, as they were in 2016 with the original Vive headset, with the release of an image of the cosmos inside the Vive logo, and text blurred out on bags nearby.

See, there’s the Vive Cosmos right there inside the logo in the left corner:

This year, though, we expect CES to be overshadowed by what isn’t at the conference, because we believe some of the companies making the biggest plays for VR or AR products in the next few years have little reason to make major appearances at CES 2019.

Facebook’s VR teams, for instance, are currently dedicated to making a success of its $400 Oculus Quest headset, and there’s not much in Las Vegas to help them accomplish that feat with its launch likely in the next few months.

Developers are hard at work at home on 50+ games — many of them ports of existing work — for the launch of the low cost standalone headset with Touch controllers, while Facebook’s teams polish the operating system and services which runs on the system. PC headset owners and PC gamers who sat the first generation of VR out are hungry for information about the Rift S or whatever the Rift follow up might be called, but Facebook’s given no indication its teams will talk about that before CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees how Quest is received.

And while I was joking earlier about the “Vive Cosmos”, we really don’t know what to expect from HTC’s VR announcements.

We saw SteamVR 2.0 base stations for the first time at CES 2018.

Valve and Microsoft are also invested in the future of the PC VR market but we’re not sure if they’ll be showing major updates related to the conference. From 2015-2018, each company used its tracking technology to secure partnerships allowing them to market test VR while building out meaningful platforms for VR centered around the openness of PC. This also allowed these companies to minimize risk in VR technology’s first consumer generation. Google and Facebook did something similar based around Android on cell phones.

In 2019, though, there’s more at stake.

VR exercise machines shown with HTC Vive at CES 2017.

U.S.-based companies like Microsoft, Valve, Google and Facebook are under pressure to take VR hardware performance further, increase immersion to new levels, lower overall cost and deliver hand-controlled games like Beat Saber, Job Simulator and Superhot that people proved they’ll pay for in VR.

Overall, this means at the same time researchers and engineers at those companies are developing and patenting the next generation of VR technology, other teams are also working to secure supply chains and global manufacturing partners to ensure there are fewer hiccups, hidden costs or future threats once products arrive at a form factor and minimum feature set capable of driving a higher rate of adoption.

One of the first VR accessories announced around CES allows Oculus Rift buyers to connect their headset to the USB-C port on newer VR-ready graphics cards.

This means we expect to see renewed support for standards like OpenXR and VirtualLink at events like CES, but we also expect to see plenty of Chinese-based versions of familiar AR and VR headset designs after U.S.-based AR companies like ODG and Meta struggled in 2018.

China-based Pico is also out early with the announcement of a new version of its standalone VR headset.

In addition to the above, we expect to see a smattering component updates from component manufacturers — especially eye-tracking companies — trying to convince larger companies they are ready for a a mass market future.

We’ll bring you eyes-on reports throughout the week starting Monday, Jan. 7, and you can expect the latest on throughout the week. Check our CES landing page for all the details.

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Community Download: What Are Your 2019 VR/AR Predictions?

Community Download: What Are Your 2019 VR/AR Predictions?

Community Download is a weekly discussion-focused articles series published every Monday in which we pose a single, core question to you all, our readers, in the spirit of fostering discussion and debate.

Today is the final day of 2018 which means it’s time for reflection. As we look back on the year and celebrate some of the best games and experiences it brought to our headsets, it’s time to look forward to the future as well.

By all accounts, 2019 is shaping up to be an important year for immersive technology industries. Facebook is betting big on standalone VR following the success of the Oculus Go with its fully 6DOF Oculus Quest headset and two controller combo to offer “Rift quality experiences” at the all-in-one cost of just $399. We tried it at OC5 and were all blown away by the tracking quality and visual clarity of games like Tennis Scramble and Superhot VR.

Oculus Quest on display at Oculus Connect 5 | Photo Credit: David Jagneaux, UploadVR

This is also going to be an important year for the PSVR as Sony starts to shift focus to the PlayStation 5 and (presumably) the next iteration of their VR platform. With no presence at E3 this year it’s going to be a very different show and other than a handful of titles like Megalith and Blood & Truth there isn’t much on the horizon for next year after Sony absolutely demolished the competition with a slew of amazing exclusives this year.

For HTC we’re mostly just waiting to see what happens next. The Vive Pro and Vive Focus both came out this year, as well as the Vive Wireless Adapter, but the software side is still lacking. Without any real exclusives to speak of and the vast majority of the Vive ecosystem living mostly on Valve’s Steam could be problematic for HTC in the long-term.

Then you’ve got the scrappy Windows VR platform, the constantly evolving mobile VR landscape between Google Daydream and now the Oculus Go, new contenders like Shadow VR and Pimax, and so much more. There’s a lot going on in our industry right now — and that doesn’t even start to consider AR platforms like HoloLens or Magic Leap.

So, with so many questions and moving parts still: What are your predictions for the VR/AR market in 2019? Who will rise to the top and who will fall? Do you think the Oculus Quest can sell a million (or two million) headsets in a single year?

Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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VR Cast: Predictions for 2017 As Facebook VR Finally Emerges

VR Cast: Predictions for 2017 As Facebook VR Finally Emerges

Welcome to our humble podcast! Every week(ish) Joe Durbin and Ashley Whitlatch go over the biggest VR news of the past seven days. Plus, we always try to give you a healthy dose of analysis and surprises along the way.

This week, we’re giving you our big VR predictions for 2017 which include the potential emergence of Facebook VR and the growth of immersive education. We’ll also talk about Arizona Sunshine‘s amazing success and the FOVE eye-tracking headset. Enjoy!

Have questions? Email to have your inquiry read on the air! Tune in next week where our guest will be UploadVR’s brand new editor-in-chief Tal Blevins: co-founder of IGN Entertainment. See you there!

Music Credit: Ross Bugden

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10 Prominent Developers Detail Their 2017 Predictions for The VR/AR Industry

10 Prominent Developers Detail Their 2017 Predictions for The VR/AR Industry

Unless overuse of VR headsets has granted them telepathic super powers, it would have been pretty hard for any one person to predict everything that happened to the VR industry in 2016. We’ve recapped what happened to each of the major headsets last year (for Rift, Vive, and PS VR), and it was pretty exhausting since the year as a whole was full of so much news and so many awesome experiences. As we look forward to 2017 then, we’ve reached out to a bunch of industry experts and insiders to get their views on where we’re headed over the next 12 months.

2016 provided hints of where Facebook, HTC, Sony, Google, and more will take their headsets in the near future, but where does the industry’s best and brightest think we’ll end up this time next year? With CES, the year’s first major event, now in the books, let’s hear from some those that work with VR itself about what happens next.

We asked all of these developers the same four questions:

1) What do you think will happen to the VR/AR market in 2017?

2) What NEEDS to happen to the VR AR market in 2017?

3) What will be the big breakthroughs and innovations of 2017?

4) Will 2017 finally be the “year of VR?”

Colin Northway, Co-Founder at Northway Games (Fantastic Contraption)

1) I think the PC VR market will continue to grow steadily. I personally think its growth will be at pace with how often people upgrade their computers. When most people own a VR capable computer most people will own a VR rig. So we have a ways to go still.

I think it’s great to have some breathing room actually. We’re still figuring out what we can do with VR and how to design for it. It’s nice to have this incredibly savvy audience who is excited about innovation and experimentation, we’ll figure this VR thing out together so it’s ready when the masses can get their hands on it.

2) 2017 needs to be about experimentation, just like 2015 and 2016. We need to keep pushing out in weird directions and see what’s out there. This technology has opened up a galaxy of new possibilities, every VR designer I know is bursting with ideas, we need to grab our machetes and get exploring.

3) If I could tell you what the breakthroughs would be then I’d have already made them! They are going to come from unexpected places and they are going to be software not hardware. We are far far away from grappling with what has been made possible by modern VR. Wireless headsets and eye tracking and whatever aren’t going to be game changers, we already have the hardware to change your life. We just haven’t figured out quite how to do it yet.

Also higher res displays would be really nice.

4) I don’t think at the end of 2017 there will be a virtual reality headset in every household. But I do think people with VR headsets are going to be blown away by what’s coming, myself included.

Rand Miller, CEO at Cyan Worlds (Obduction, Myst)

1) 2017 will be a vital year for VR/AR. To support vibrant and creative gaming development the market will begin the transition from niche to mainstream.

2) VR/AR NEEDS to make the transition to mainstream – that means lower barrier to entry (lower cost and easier setup).

3) The obvious evolutionary breakthroughs – higher rez displays, lighter headsets, better hand controls, lower prices, etc.

4) 2017 will be an exciting beginning of the transition to virtual reality, but it will take another year to start steam-rolling.

Jon Hibbins, Co-Founder at Psytec Games (Windlands, Crystal Rift)

1) I believe the virtual reality market will continue to have steady sales reaching over 2 million HMD’s between Sony, HTC and Oculus. Software Sales will continue to be Steady, new peripherals will likely appear on all 3 platforms.

2) Costs need to be reduced dramatically. Investment in quality software titles needs to be strong to help hardware gain growth.

3) I don’t predict any major breakthroughs in 2017, improvements will be good of course. I don’t expect any new hardware iterations to be released, just teased, perhaps some new contenders may get interesting and push the specifications.

4) VR is here, 2016 was the year of VR availability. 2016 should take the year of VR for this alone, I think every year is now a VR year, it’s here to stay.

Kerry Ganofsky, CEO at High Voltage Software (Dragon Front,  Damaged Core)

1) As hardware costs come down and processing power increases (gotta love Moore’s law!) VR will reach an even broader audience. It’s safe to say that consumer interest in the VR and AR markets will continue to rise in 2017 for both PC and mobile platforms.

I think what we observed in 2016 was the adoption Catch-22 that we so often see with new technology. Developers needed players to make worthwhile investments in robust content, and would-be players needed content to invest in the technology. Content investment goals by hardware developers like the pledge made by Oculus at their Oculus Connect 3 keynote in October will encourage software companies like High Voltage to fill the end-user’s need for quality content.

2) As with any platform, quality content and more robust features (Oculus Avatars, Parties, Rooms, etc.) will help drive adoption and add depth to the virtual reality experience in 2017. Considering the multitude of other gaming options available to consumers who are not yet VR-inclined, hardware and software developers will need to be more cognizant than ever of what will entice new users.

We’ve seen this kind of natural quality progression before in the video game industry. The difference now with VR is that it’s not as feasible for developers to experiment and fail as it was at the dawn of game development. There is a rulebook that has been slowly pieced together since Pong. It’s a frame of reference for both developers and gamers. However, because virtual reality uses sensory input and output methods that are entirely new to users (360 environments, haptic feedback and input, 3D Sound, etc.) much of the rulebook has to be rewritten to accommodate the medium.

3) We’ve already seen industries beyond entertainment begin to adopt the technology. Without many of the sensory limitations other consoles experience, virtual reality is a powerful tool that broadens our perception.

In 2017 the biggest breakthrough that needs to happen is that virtual reality needs to attract casual users. I think people might be turned off by VR due to general misunderstanding of what it provides, a lack of knowledge in minimum PC requirements, or that feeling of having to buy multiple things just to play VR. As more and more people with perspective separate from the hardware and software development world have easy access to VR, truly innovative ways to use the tool will emerge. It will be fascinating to see how patients, students, or anyone who does not consider themselves “tech-savvy” will shift software development trends, especially now that touch controllers and other haptic feed-back mechanisms can eliminate barriers for people unfamiliar with less-intuitive input methods.

4) 2017 will certainly be a memorable year in VR, and we’re as excited as everyone else to see what it will bring!

Paul Colis, Creative Director at Fierce Kaiju (Viral)

I believe and hope that we will begin to see virtual reality going more mainstream. I expect we’ll see more advertising, such as ads during large sporting events and more appearances on major TV shows, like we’re starting to see now with Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon etc.

There will be some great surprises in the form of new content from developers at large gaming events such as E3, Gamescom, PAX and EGX. Perhaps crucially I expect that we’ll see major publishers taking bigger bets on virtual reality content.

We’ve seen the likes of EA, Activision and 2K begin to dip their toes in, which seemed to be relatively well received. We had Ubisoft release the excellent Eagle Flight to what was largely a very positive reception and we’re starting to see decent money being made by some companies in virtual reality.

As a gamer and developer I’m tremendously excited to see what happens when the big budgets come in and production values go up, I believe that VR content will just get stronger and stronger when this happens, you only have to look at the likes of The Unspoken and Robo Recall to see what happens when funding and support gets put behind good teams.

I also expect we’ll see more Indie devs getting into virtual reality, with experienced developers breaking out from big studios and more great talent emerging from Higher Education. I do hope that we start to see more meaningful, lengthy games. We’ve had some great content so far, but I’d like to see content that I can escape to for a few hours or more, some meaty single player experiences would be welcome.

Interestingly we’re starting to see a vocal kickback against methods of locomotion in VR, like teleportation. Developers and platform holders favour more comfortable methods for a number of valid reasons that are well documented. But we can’t ignore that a significant section of VR gamers seem to desire solutions more akin to traditional console or PC control methods. So with that in mind I expect to see new ideas in and around VR locomotion.

Whilst I’m largely positive for what 2017 will bring for VR, there will be downsides. Unfortunately I think we’ll see more casualties like we saw with Vrideo at the back end of 2016, my hope is that such news is infrequent.

Eric Romo, CEO at AltspaceVR (AltspaceVR)

1) Although often grouped together, VR and AR are two separate technologies that provide different functions. While there may be some mixed applications, VR and AR will likely continue to develop for separate applications where each provides its particular value. For VR, we think the core of this will be helping people communicate and feel like they are together.

2) For VR, equipment needs to be more consumer-friendly and affordable, helping adoption reach a critical mass and drawing talent to create content specifically for this medium. People need to see VR as a completely new medium, i.e., not in terms of current video, video chats, or social media.

3) The adoption of Daydream across major mobile devices will be a breakthrough in accessibility and will spur adoption. All-in-one designs will begin to achieve a level of  ease-of-use that will let people integrate VR into their everyday lives. Increased ability to track human behavior, such as expressions and eye movements will have huge impact on avatar effectiveness and the ability to connect with others in virtual reality.

4) By the end of 2017 we may be able to get hardware ease-of use and accessibility, content development, and adoption to a point that would signal that we have passed from early, early adoption to regular, early adoption. Early, early adopters are a relatively small group of experimenters who are fascinated with VR technology and highly motivated to experience it. There is a much larger group of high end consumer electronics users who will adopt as hardware becomes easier to use, they discover content and activities that interest them, and more of their friends have access to VR. Because applications are so important,  we may not have a “year of VR” but may instead have  “the year of musicians giving concerts in VR” and then,  “the year of medical procedural training in VR”, and so forth as applications that matter to people become enabled by virtual reality.

Darshan Shankar, CEO at Bigscreen (Bigscreen)

1) I expect the following in 2017: Affordable mid-tier virtual reality headsets ($300), Gen 1.5 (a refresh) of high-end $800 VR headsets. Dozens of cheap mobile VR headsets, and the first 4K headset prototypes. Mobile VR will finally get positional tracking.

2017 is too early for AR, but I bet Apple will announce something. Microsoft will bring affordable virtual reality headsets to the PC and Xbox One

2) VR and AR need cheaper, higher resolution headsets and non-gaming software that’s more compelling for mainstream users

3) I expect a breakthrough in inside-out camera-based positional tracking

4) 2016 was the first year consumers could buy high-quality high-end VR headsets. 2017 will expand on that, making that high-end experience more affordable and accessible to more consumers. However, I still don’t expect more than 10-20 million VR users until 2018. VR and AR will remain fairly small with a few million monthly active users until 2018.

Bryan Chu, VP Marketing at VREAL (VREAL)

1) VR/AR will continue to experience steady growth in 2017 driven by a few key factors.  Updates and innovations to existing hardware, such as the release of the Oculus Touch controllers seen this year, will improve the overall user experience.  New SteamVR hardware, and lowered price points for both headsets and PCs will also grow the PC VR market.  On the console side, as PS4 Pro gains traction we will see more PSVR units and steadily improving attach rates for that peripheral.  Also, based on MSFT’s announcements in this last year, we should expect to see their headsets in wide commercial release.

On the software side this will be coupled with better and more polished virtual reality experiences as products delayed in development that missed the initial ship windows will hit the market. Better experiences coupled with growing install bases will allow for more viable businesses, and also reach the critical mass required to establish new franchises.

2) [Answered implicitly above]

3) For hardware, we will see the first wireless headsets which will allow true “holodeck”-like VR.  We will also see improvement to form factor issues such as weight and comfort along with improved displays that allow people to use virtual reality in more meaningful ways.

4) I think “The Year of virtual reality” may underestimate the true impact VR will have.  Truly massive shifts happen like a rising ocean tide.  Where entire industries and ways of thinking are altered so that the world that existed before is unimaginable and what’s “possible” gets redefined.  What we’re experiencing now, this is what it feels like when history is being made.

E McNeill, Independent Developer (Darknet, Tactera)

1) I expect the VR/AR market to grow and to gain momentum, but still at a slower pace and lower level than most enthusiasts hoped for. We’ll hear some people claim that VR flopped or is dead in the water, but in general things will get better.

2) It needs to be propped up by Oculus, Valve, Sony, and Google. They’ve done a great job so far, but I think they need to keep going a little while longer before the market finally reaches liftoff.

3) I’m expecting the big breakthroughs to come from the software side of things, as game developers figure out what’s most fun in VR and as larger projects mature. For example, the hotly anticipated VR strategy game Skylight is coming to Gear VR on January 12th! That’ll be a big one, I’m sure.

4) No. Either the “year of VR” already happened, or it will come later than 2017.

Kimberly Unger, Producer at Gazillion Entertainment (Marvel Heroes and Unannounced Title)

1)  I think we are going to see slow, steady growth in 2017, but not the hockey-stick everyone’s looking for.

2) We need more market penetration for both tethered VR and mobile VR.  It’s not just going to be about dropping prices on equipment, but it’s going to have to involve marketing pushes that describe the “VR lifestyle” in glowing terms.

3) I think we will finally get haptic feedback for virtual reality sorted out. It’ll show up first for room-scale VR, but versions for mobile won’t be far behind.  Mobile spatial tracking just hit the market, so I think AR is finally going to get its legs and give VR run for it’s money

4) Almost there but I don’t think 2017 is going to be the big surge, I think we’ve got at least another year getting consumers comfortable with VR if we really want it to stick.

OK, on to my personal opinions:

This is going to be the first full year with console-scale VR.  That’s going to be a huge bonus. We now need to be sure that there is enough VR-only content to keep the players satisfied. I think this year there is going to be a fight between cinema and games for ownership of the term VR. Right now when you talk to most average consumers and you use the term VR, their first thought is movies, not games.  IMAX is going to bring VR theatre experiences online this year, which means that will be the touchpoint for VR for most of the population.

Once you put on a VR headset, you could care less how stupid you look. This matters.  The more people try VR, the more normal it’s going to seem.  People aren’t going to look at someone wearing a headset and go “wow, what a dork”, instead they are going to look and remember their own last great experience.

Contributions to this story were made by Staff Writer Jamie Feltham.

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Community Download: What Will Happen To VR In 2017 and Beyond?

Community Download: What Will Happen To VR In 2017 and Beyond?

Before the calendar ever turned over from 2015 to 2016 people were already dubbing this as the “year of virtual reality.”

This monicker was given for good reason. In 2016, we’ve seen not one, not two, but three high-end, ultra-powerful virtual reality headsets go from hyped future products to fully released consumer electronics, as well as a few new contenders on top of that. It may seem hard to believe now, but just a few months ago the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR HMDs were available active developers only. Now, hundreds of thousands of us have portals to the metaverse sitting in our homes. Our access to VR, therefore, has undergone a gargantuan shift in the past twelve months. The question now becomes what a societal transformation on this level will mean for the future.

Our question for you readers today is this: What will happen to VR in 2017? What effects will the steps taken today have on the VR community of tomorrow? Before you devour each other in the comments let me outline a few considerations.

The first is to remember where we currently stand. The best and most recent estimates sales for the “big three” headset manufacturers at about 350,000, 450,000 and 750,000 for Oculus, HTC and Sony respectively.  These devices are most likely not going to be million sellers by the end of 2016, but what do you  — the savvy VR enthusiast — think will happen to those numbers in the year or years to come?

Secondly, consider the scope. When you throw chum in the water you attract sharks. This year the waters of consumer electronics have begun to run red with the attractive scents of a growing immersive industry. What this means is that all of those ancillary industries are beginning to stir their collective energies towards VR. Content creators, accessory manufactures, and other third party entities have certainly begun to swarm towards the VR gold rush, but do you think that enthusiasm will hold as we move into 2017 and beyond?

Lastly, try to think big. If someone told you ten years ago that you would have an honest-to-goodness virtual reality system in your home you would’ve blocked them from your MySpace page for life. So what about the next 10 years? How much cooler do you think things can get for VR as time, money and interest increase?

Let us know in the comments below!

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