During a developers conference over the weekend, Oculus Rift, a pioneer in the virtual reality field, announced its collaboration with Samsung. According to the New York Times, the Samsung Gear VR will combine Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 4 smartphone with Oculus software “to create a portable virtual reality experience.” Additionally, Oculus will likely release its own headset in the coming year. On radio this morning, Glenn, Pat, and Jeffy discussed the impact virtual reality devices will have on various industries.
“There is a lot of talk about something called Oculus. It's virtual reality, and it is here… [I]t is something that is game-changing to everything,” Glenn said. “This is the kind of thing that I just want to share with you… Everything that we have grown up getting used to, it's over… And it doesn't have to be a bad thing, but we have to decide where we are going as a people.”
Virtual reality technology is already having a huge impact on the gaming industry. Soon enough, the capability of this equipment will play a role in movie making, education, tourism, the way people communicate with one another, and more.
From a business perspective, Glenn could see something like Oculus being quite useful in his day-to-day life. With offices in New York City, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, California, Columbus, Ohio, and Washington D.C., TheBlaze could begin to eliminate the physical barriers that exist via virtual reality technology.
“Right now, everybody gets onto a plane… [to] go to wherever. With Oculus, you don't need that. You can have an Oculus room set up to where… I sit down [and] I am virtual to everybody else or they are virtual to me,” Glenn said. “And it's like I am sitting down in this conference room… You are seeing the table. You are seeing you and everybody else at the table. We are all having a conference, and it is like we're there.”
In time, virtual reality developers believe they can get the technology to a point where people are completely immersed in this alternate universe. From hearing to seeing to smelling, there could come a time in which there is no reason to take a virtual reality headset or bodysuit off.
“Imagine if you could actually see it in this kind of detail on the other side of the world. You may never get to the Great Wall of China… but if I could go through a [virtual reality] tour and I could walk it… on a stair-climbing machine – I am seeing it, smelling it, I am feeling it, what difference does it make,” Glenn asked. “The real becomes unreal. Virtual reality will become better than reality. That's the problem.”
Glenn said he spoke with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about virtual reality technology, and he is concerned about the impact it could have on ticket sales. Why would someone go through the hassle of going to a sporting event or concert, if they could enjoy a potentially better experience from the comfort of their own home?
“Here's a guy who owns the Dallas Mavericks. He said, ‘Imagine, Glenn, right now, you are going to a baseball game or basketball game and you want to be a part of the crowd. That's the thing. You go to those because you want to be part of the crowd,’” Glenn explained. “’But if I can make it an Oculus experience, how do I keep the crowd going to the baseball game or the basketball game or the concert, when going to the concert is full of all kind of hassle?’”
A similar assumption can be extended to movie viewing. The technology could get to a point where no two viewing experiences are the same.
“You know how many times you would watch your favorite movie… if movies were made in such a way – with Oculus – that we are not watching what the characters are doing necessarily on screen… It would be unbelievable, and it changes everything.”
As Jeffy and Pat explained, such customization is already happening with video games.
“They are doing that with the games now because the game learns,” Pat said. “It sees what you did the first time around, and it changes your experience the second time around and the third. So no two experiences are ever the same. Even if you get to the end of the game and win it, the next time you play it, it is a difference experience. They are already doing that.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP