Virtual Reality: The Past, The Present, The Future

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The History, The VR Awards and Beyond

Technology has been increasing on an unpredictable scale.

Amongst us geeky fanatics, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing most of it.

Throughout all the tech that we have tested, the most immersive experience to ever grace the gaming world has to be Virtual Reality, hands down.

No other piece of equipment transports you to unusual, exotic worlds quite like a VR headset.

Here at DUG, we love VR. One of our writers recently lost her VR virginity.

And with London about to celebrate such great advancement in the VR Industry with the VR Awards, it feels right to explore just how far we have come with this Technology.

Today we are going to unearth:

  • The History of Virtual Reality
  • The Latest and Greatest Games being celebrated at the VR Awards
  • Where VR is set to expand in the future

The History of Virtual Reality

It’s 1968.

Man has not been on the moon. Civilization hasn’t realised that it needs Google yet. What even is a portable telephone?

Despite the lack of advancements in technology, humans still have the incredible idea to connect a head mounted display to a computer.

This headset is known as the Sword of Damocles. 

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While this headset is still an encouraging start to the industry, it’s an intimidatingly large machine that users have to strap into to use.

Not only that, the computer tech isn’t up to speed with the ideas of the inventors so picture graphics were slow and bland.

Nevertheless, it inspired the creation of so much more…

Fast Forward to 1987

The Term “Virtual Reality” is born thanks to the amount of research in the industry.

Techies wanted to see the birth of the tech yet didn’t really know what call it. Jaron Lanier then has the excellent idea to call it Virtual Reality, VR for short.

The 1990s saw the Normalisation of VR.

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1991 saw the first commercial use of the headsets in “Virtuality Group Arcade Machines”.

Players could play single or multiplayer modes in arcades. However, home use was still far out of reach.

Next, in 1992 the concept of VR had just entered Hollywood.

The movie Lawnmower Man describes the story of a man whose life and body transformed through the single use of a headset.

1995 introduced the first VR to use at home

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Nintendo Virtual Boy was the first,portable headset for players to buy and use wherever they liked.

While being the first of its kind, it was also a massive failure with discontinuation following the next year.

This was due to the lack of colours, red and black only, and how awkward it was to play – you couldn’t find a comfortable playing position.

Credit is given where credit is due, Nintendo’s creation inspired many companies to follow the path into VR to help develop the industry.

Slowly, overtime, as the technology began to develop, the capabilites of the VR headsets rose too.

In 2012, the increase of popular headsets began.

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The crowdfunding of the now popular headset, The Oculus Rift, began and high tech, VR entertainment was on its way.

But it wasn’t until 2016 that people began to recongise the term “Virtual Reality”.

This is the year that all the major headsets were released including the HTC Vive and Playstation VR.

But we also have to thank the Headsets like the Google Cardboard for introducing VR to the world.

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These viewers took advantage of the amount of people owning smart phones; if you own a phone, you can use VR.

And with the cardboard only costing around £15, anyone could afford it too.

The VR Awards

Our generation was in the fortunate position to have lived the birth of modern Virtual Reality and our now the ones to take it further.

Bringing us to present day, VR Bound is about to celebrate all the best in the business on October 9th at the VR Awards.

Held in a Central London location, this event will present to the public the best uses of VR in real life situations including uses through healthcare and education.

AMD and The Foundry are set to partner with VR Bound to host the celebrations.

It’s a pleasure and an honor for AMD to give the much-deserved recognition to VR Content Creators and Innovators.

– Roy Taylor, CVP of Media and Entertainment, AMD

The category with the highest anticipation has got to be VR Game of the Year with some pretty tough competition announced earlier this month.

The shortlist is as follows:

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Many of these games have set a high mark for future games to top. The level of immersiveness these games allow the players can’t be matched by any typical console game.

One nomination I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy is Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.

Experiencing the life of the famous duo, you play as a Morty clone and assist in the garage/ science lab while they galavant on their adventures. You take part in various challenges and are rewarded with the distinct humour of the show and being shot in the head a few times.

Never would I ever have imagined that I would be able to realistically experience one of the world’s favourite TV Shows!

Speaking to Cy Wise, Studio Director at Owlchemy Labs, she is very honoured that their project, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, has been nominated for the award and has explained what these awards will mean for the industry:

“We’re thrilled to have been selected, and beyond honoured to be considered among such fantastic studios and projects!”

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Another game nominated for VR Game of the Year is Lucky’s Tale.

Most owners of the Oculus Rift have had the privilege to enjoy this game as a digital copy comes with the headset. This game allows you to play from the point of view of God as you watch and guide this cute fox across the land.

David Calkins, Communications Director at Playful Corp, expressed his gratitude to the organisers and explained how the awards will help the industry grow:

“We’re truly grateful for what VR Bound and other organizations are doing to fan the flames of interest for VR. We are at a key point in history where, 50 years from now, our grandchildren will look back and say, “This is where it all started.”

For us, VR Bound and others are passionate advocates for this technology and great champions of this pivotal transition to a new reality where creativity and human connection know no limits.”

There is much more talent yet to be explored in the Virtual Reality Industry and it’s exciting that hard work is finally being rewarded and acknowledged.

The rest of the shortlist can be viewed here.

Future of Virtual Reality

When I think about the future of gaming, the first thing to always come to mind is the gaming scene in the movie “Her”.

The film explores the future of technology and how it will impact on our lives (I very much recommend it).

Using the projections, the player has a 3D visual of the game in front and the protagonist in the game copies the movements that the player makes. Not only that but you can also talk personally with the characters to interact with them.

It explores the idea of finding new ways to test the capabilities of the players.

You can watch the scene hereWARNING! Very strong language is used throughout!

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Some of the developers nominated for the award also gave their hopes and beliefs for the future of Virtual Reality. The technology has come so far yet has some distance to go…

Samantha from Tender Claws, creators of “Virtual, Virtual Reality”, believes that VR has the ability to broaden and diversify the type of games that we will see in the future. Developers will gain new design knowledge to innovate definitions of gaming itself:

“I think VR currently opens up a market where new players and smaller studios can enter and design unique work that thinks beyond definitions of “traditional gaming”.

I hope that a diverse landscape of gaming in VR and VR creators will continue to grow; especially, as new audiences are poised to experiment with VR and broaden their views about what a game can be.”

Cy at Owlchemy Labs equally longs for the creation of games only possible with VR:

“There is definitely still so much to experiment with! Commercial room scale, hand-tracked VR hasn’t even been out for two years yet.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing tons more innovation, from new mechanics and gameplay, to whole new genres only possible in VR!”

David at Playful Corp also had some excellent suggestions for the changes VR will make to the future of gaming:

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He continued to explain:

“We could one day be walking down the street, saying hello to a neighbor while simultaneously be playing a platforming game as we guide a digital character – projected into the real world via contact lenses – over fences and parked cars.

One thing’s for sure: we’ll need a slew of new words to describe our existence. I suggest “Meetingamer” for one who has mastered the art of appearing present in a meeting while secretly flying spaceships through a gauntlet of water bottles and office chairs.”

A world where I can game at work without being caught is a world I definitely want to live in.

My predictions

The way I certainly want to see this tech develop is by eliminating the amount of hardware needed.

Instead of having to utilise heavy, clunky controllers, will there be ways in which are hands will be enough to act as the controller?

Can we go one further and say that the headset itself will be redundant as well? We could trick the eyes into believing the surrounding environment is completely different to what it really is without having to focus them on screens.

How they would do this? No clue whatsoever. Hopefully, someone smart could figger that out.


Are you looking forward to the VR Awards? Are you excited to see where VR is going next?

Let us know in the comments below who you think is going to grab VR Game of the Year!



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