Four ways virtual reality is coming to you

Dalton Stokes

The future of gaming as promised by many tech companies has been on the rise for quite a few years now. This is old news. What isn’t old news is how this future of gaming is becoming more available than ever.

We have all heard of Virtual Reality and how cool it is, but there is a huge difference in seeing something at the gaming convention. This is typical of new breakthrough technologies. For a while they are usually fairly inaccessible to the public, then they make their way into more accessible commercial markets.

Because of this, many people see VR as an abstract and far off idea. It is very fair to say that VR is far from perfect and is far from its prime, but we are most definitely seeing some steps of its improvement.

Of course VR is only accessible if you have quite a bit of cash to invest into it, but here are some ways that it is becoming more accessible.

One of the biggest ways anything in video games becomes accessible is by coming to console. Gaming started on PC but evolved into a more convenient premade package. Video games didn’t start on console. Originally in the inception of video games only people with computers could play most of them.

This left an untapped market of everyday people that wanted to play video games at home. So Atari and Nintendo rose to the occasion and created consoles, which were computers made specifically for gaming that players didn’t have to format or worry about the complicated aspects. It was convenient.

Now instead of video games we have VR, and Sony and Valve are bringing VR to everyday gamers. Sony’s Playstation 4 console released a few years ago and has recently gained much more popularity. On the flip side on PC gaming, Valve, owners of Steam, have brought the VIVE to a more available state. They streamlined and made the process much more open to the everyday gamer.

That’s the second way that VR is becoming more available than ever. VR systems are beginning to come down in price. Four years ago the price of a VR system was outrageous, but now as they have became more popular, cheaper means of producing them have been achieved. This is driving the prices down.

This leads us into the third way. It has became widely popular to the extent that people are creating more and more media geared specifically for VR devices. This has caused a huge increase in demand for ways to consume this media. So, corporations stepped in to capitalize on that need.

VR has gotten so popular they are making headsets that have a slot for a smartphone. Software can be downloaded onto any smartphone to view 360 degree videos which are essentially what you watch in VR. This software paired with these cheaper headsets makes the VR experience as easy as going to almost any store and spending $20 as opposed to dropping hundreds of dollars on VR setups.

Now, I will still say that you pay for what you get. The VR experience is going to be very watered down in these cheaper smartphone headsets. If you want the cutting edge in VR experience or at least close to it, you will need to use actual VR systems which are hundreds of dollars. The best models out their are not going to be compatible with any console, they will be only usable on a computer, and a computer with fairly good processing power at that.

So, an exceptional VR experience is quite an investment. For those who are not willing to dispense the capital necessary to acquire this experience, there is a growing industry that will make experiencing VR much easier and more affordable.

There is a rising industry mostly in other countries called LAN Cafes, which is the fourth point.  These are basically places where people can go to play video games online or with each other, with state of the art gaming computers for an hourly fee. In Korea, a very large percentage of youth spend their time at these LAN Cafes.

Recently LAN Cafes have taken on the role of also providing VR experiences for an hourly fee. People are calling them VR Cafes. They provide a great way to experience VR without actually buying your own system. Even though these aren’t hugely popular in the US, the huge demand for VR will almost definitely result in an increased popularity of these VR Cafes.

In fact, there is a LAN/VR Cafe here in Lexington currently in the works. Chris Carr the owner of Nerd Brigade electronic repair shop says he plans to open a LAN/VR Cafe in the back of his electronic repair store, opening pending the success of the repair business.

This would be an amazing thing for gamers in Lexington and a great hangout for gamers. It would bring an affordable way for people in Lexington to experience VR. It would also be a great way for UK to start up an Esports team in the future.