Which VR Experiences Will Take Us Around The World
It was clear from the beginning that virtual reality could do incredible things when it came to creating game worlds. Throughout the past two years, however, we’ve gradually learned that VR can also succeed at delivering 3D renditions of real life locations. This concept opens up a virtually limitless range of possibilities for developers who don’t just want to make VR experiences, but want to use them to take users all around the planet.
For the most part, we’re still only touching on this specific sort of potential. But these are some of the VR experiences that will take us around the world.
Cycling is fast becoming a very cool place for virtual reality innovation, and it makes sense for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s a way to be in motion without having to physically move, which introduces all kinds of natural possibilities to VR (whereas games and experiences requiring a controller for movement can feel a little more disconnected). Additionally, it combats the narrative that the rise of VR will worsen our sedentary lifestyles by combining a game-like experience with cardiovascular exercise. We’ve actually written about biking in VR before, but it’s important to stress we’re in the early stages of this concept being developed. There are several fun examples of experiences that simulate the feeling of biking on various trails all over the world, but they’re going to be getting better in time.
This would work a little differently, but bear with us for a moment. Casino games have already dabbled in 3D and virtual environments with fairly significant success. Slot machines, once the blandest of online arcades, have embraced 3D environments, with the result that many have become hits simply because the theme is so captivating. Poker, blackjack, and roulette have moved past basic graphics toward live dealer gaming, in some cases using actual video feeds to show the dealers in real time. Building on these concepts one can easily get to the idea of VR casinos that simulate full casinos – including real ones from around the world. This wouldn’t “take us around the world” in the sense of showing us cities or interesting scenery, but it could allow us to visit popular resort destinations, from the Bellagio in Las Vegas to the Casino of Monte Carlo, from our own homes.
Just like cycling can combine VR game-like experiences and exercise, lots of companies appear to be trying to make treadmills that are safe, effective, and VR-compatible. It’s also become clear that, while imperfect, VR treadmills are getting better – and once the machines are good, attention will turn toward the experiences. Mostly, these will probably used with different games meant to facilitate better cardio workouts. However, they could also be used to simulate hikes, such that we could all walk through famous parks and along well-known trails without ever leaving home. For that matter, we could also see experiences that simply let us walk around the city streets of places like Paris, New York, and London.
By now you get the idea with these fitness-related suggestions. Though it’s worth noting that there’s already a climbing game that’s among the most impressive and successful VR experiences we’ve seen to date. “The Climb” on Oculus Rift has been called beautiful and involving, and revolves entirely around the idea of climbing towering cliffs with gorgeously rendered landscapes beneath you. Swap out the fantasy environments for animated versions of real places, and we’d have another fascinating experience that shows us some of the world’s most remarkable places. Plus, the climbing doesn’t have to be completely realistic, which means we could also climb things like Mount Everest or one of the walls of the Grand Canyon.