The immersion game space is a relatively new field. Developers have only been able to recently take advantage of moore’s law effects on the smartphone market to be able to buy cheap sensors and displays to bring Virtual Reality to the consumer.
Games that allow for full immersive gameplay have always been around but offered a bad experience due to lack of precise technology.
Immersion games provide the user with a virtual reality experience. VR can be divided into two categories, narrow and broad virtual reality.
Narrow vr includes devices that get limited input from the user and provides an incomplete virtual reality experience. The classic example is the car racing game in arcades which puts the user in a virtual cockpit and has them control the car with actual car controls. Narrow VR was brought into the living room by the Nintendo Wii remote, followed by the Playstation Eye toy and the Xbox Kinect. These devices use sensors to track movements of the player. Presently mobile has been able to provide a narrow VR experience with orientation tracking allowing phones and tablets to provide a window into the virtual world.
Broad vr provides a full immersive experience with the use of low latency high field of view head tracking display units. This technology has been in specialty arcades since the 90s but has always suffered from heavy units, bad displays and high latency. The Oculus Rift has been working on developing broad vr for game enthusiasts. It has shipped it’s second developer unit out. Oculus has also been partnering with samsung for the last year on coupling it’s vr technology with mobile devices for an easy to use, affordable and cord free virtual reality experience. Playstation has responded and announced it’s vr unit. Microsoft has recently acquired FOVE an eye tracking startup, which is causing speculators to think microsoft is working on a broad vr unit of its own. It’s clear the broad vr market is about to enter consumers living rooms and grow fast.
The next big advancement in the vr space is going to be use of Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology to provide localisation at all times. Google’s project tango will provide huge advancements in making immersive gaming accessible for consumers.
Broad vr is going to incorporate with multiple narrow vr tech and SLAM to provide an almost unimaginable amount of immersion.
It’s clear that Broad VR in games is about to become huge as the early majority adopts the technology over the next couple years.
Over the next couple weeks I’m going to work on virtual reality development for Google cardboard.