Many years ago, I took a trip with my dad to some state, I think Wisconsin, and while we were there we found a sizable arcade. That’s right, this was back far enough that arcades were still out there in the wild. And while this place had all the standard games back then, there was one area that was seeing the lion’s share of attention.
That was a section of the arcade dedicated to a virtual reality area. Of course, back then, something like this needed an entire area to take advantage of the experience. And make room for the technology to run it all.
There was the headset, which was huge, and there was a platform with a cushioned railing that made sure folks didn’t wander away. It was a sight to behold all on its own, even before you put the rig on your head and dove into the virtual experience.
And it was quite the experience! Even to this day I still remember it fondly enough. Back then virtual reality was on the cusp of taking off, much like in the same way it is now, but there’s a huge difference these days:
The technology is finally where it needs to be, and even if it’s (still) expensive, it is still far more accessible than it ever would have been all those years ago. VR has come a long way, and it has a lot to do with those leading the charge these days. Oculus and Facebook, HTC, and many others; they’ve all gone all-in with virtual reality in a big way, and as a result there are a lot of people out there that are getting excited about the possibilities.
And that doesn’t even include the companies working on augmented reality experiences along with virtual reality ones, like Microsoft and HoloLens.
The HTC Vive, and for some lucky folks out there who ordered the Oculus Rift, are now available for folks that want to jump on the VR early adopter train. Just like anything else, really, it’s a bit of a gamble, but for those who are really into it, and who believe VR is the next big thing for all of us interested in technology, well, it’s worth it.
Despite having fond memories of that virtual reality experience all those years ago, I just couldn’t find myself on any single “buy now” or “order now” pages when the time came. Even for a fan of video game consoles, and an owner of a PlayStation 4, Sony’s PlayStation VR didn’t win my money, either. I’m not blind to the possibilities that VR really is the next big thing, and that it could very well dominate in a huge way in the years to come, but this is one thing that I don’t feel like I need to be on the ground floor this time around.
Maybe I’m just getting old.
What about you? Are you jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon early? If you are, which headset did you go with, and why? Are you waiting to get your PlayStation VR in the months ahead? What about virtual reality made you want to jump in? Let me know!