What’s next for VR development?

Google Cardboard is only the beginning of consumerized virtual reality. With the release of Oculus Rift just around the corner (pre-orders started on January 6), it’s high time to look at what’s next for VR development.

That’s just what MentorMate Senior Software Engineer Chris Black did in his talk at DevFestMN this year. Read the recap or watch his entire session, at one of the Midwest’s largest Android Developer events.

Why Google Cardboard is a big deal

Google Cardboard brings virtual reality to the masses for a fraction of the price higher-end VRs like the price Oculus Rift will command later this year. Cardboard cost only $10–15. On top of that, the ownership to assemble the VR device is placed on the user. It’s a straightforward process. Make a few folds. Fasten in your iPhone. And you’re ready to go.

How Google Cardboard differs from higher-end virtual reality

Cardboard is intended for micro-interactions. Re: 5 minutes or less. Any more than that, a high likelihood exists the user will begin to feel nauseous. The reason behind this VR-sickness? The refresh rate isn’t fast enough. And the brain knows it. According to Oculus VR, its version can be used for hours without inducing this effect.

Adopting VR development and devices

Cardboard launched approximately 19 months ago. It took awhile for developers to begin creating for the platform. Now (as of January 2016) five million Cardboard viewers have shipped and over 1,000 compatible applications have been published.

On top of that, YouTube and Facebook already allow 360-degree video — with consumerized 360-video recording devices just around the corner.

According to Chris, the platforms are ready and the market is primed for a VR development boom and consumer adoption phase that will only grow.

Consumer expectations are evolving

With more options available to interact with content, consumer expectations are changing. They want to be immersed in the experience, not solely interacting with a screen.

Virtual reality offers this:

  • Users with a fear of heights can skydive virtually.
  • They can travel inside a cavern or under the sea without squeezing through passages or donning scuba gear.

Virtual reality offers options for companies to increase their profit margins as well. Suddenly there are no stadium or concert venue limits.

Tickets can be sold to watch the Superbowl virtually. Or see your favorite artist perform in a city across the globe from your living room. Real estate agents can give virtual tours of apartments, condos and houses.

What virtual content is not

A replacement — 360-content is about adding to life experiences not replacing them or 2-D content like cinema, according to Chris.

For on-the-go consumption — Imagine viewing Google Cardboard on the bus. Disaster.

Instead, Chris envisions virtual reality as an option experienced at home.

Watch Chris Black’s full DevFestMN talk including how to create a virtual scene below.

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