By this point its safe to say that virtual reality has come to stay. VR headsets cover a broad range of prices, meaning the market is widely accessible, and the experiences we can enjoy in VR are expanding and improving by the day. Most of the headlines are made in gaming, though there are other areas too in which VR is proving vital. What might be most interesting moving forward however is the idea of entertainment that isn’t specifically related to traditional gaming. There appears to be space in the expanding VR market for consumer-facing entertainments apps outside of what we’ve mostly seen so far.
This has been a somewhat difficult field of technology to project, but these are some of the businesses that appear poised to break in.
Virtual Sports Viewing
Soon, virtual reality will let everyone attend the Super Bowl. That was a headline that was posted in February of this year, and while it seems like a dramatic statement, it’s a reflection of a growing realization that VR has the potential to totally change how we consume live sports. Currently we’re used to two options: attending games in person, or watching them on television. VR, naturally, has the potential to blend the two, allowing us to strap on headsets that make it appear as if we’re watching from a prime seat in a stadium or perhaps even from a press box, or from the sidelines. This is an idea that’s still in its infancy, but it won’t be long before we have options like these when we want to watch sports from home.
Digital Casino Gaming
This is the closest we’re coming to gaming on this list, though many would count casino activity in a different category. It’s certainly its own niche of the gaming industry at any rate, and one that has been surprisingly slow to adapt to VR so far. That said, don’t count on it remaining on the outskirts forever. Virtual reality casinos are being developed as this industry continues its quest to remain on the cutting edge of mobile and gaming technologies. Just as online casinos developed into busy, lucrative businesses and then transferred their activity to mobile devices, VR casinos will likely be popular, active, and extraordinarily profitable in a matter of years.
To this point it’s been somewhat unclear what the relationship between virtual reality and cinema might become. Fairly early in the VR boom, we saw a few experiences that amounted to glorified previews for movies like The Martian – somewhat playable demos that basically put you in the shoes of the protagonist for a limited time. The bigger potential, however, might be the idea of watching movies the same way VR could allow us to watch sports (as detailed above). News broke recently that Paramount was launching the first VR movie theater, which is basically a VR program that lets you feel like you’re seated in a theater looking up at a big screen showing.
This is less of a defined industry, but its still an area in which we figure to see a lot of VR growth. And while training doesn’t necessarily fall under the entertainment umbrella, an element of competition could blend the two. The earliest example in this regard is actually an augmented reality experience for iOS devices, known as AR Runner. It challenges people to do quick sprinting and agility drills, specifically in competition with other users. An idea like this can be aided by VR and can make training fun something we’ll likely be seeing more of.
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