VR or Virtual Reality has become popular over the years, but for some, it still seems like a gimmick more than anything else. But there has been a steep rise in the use of VR technology in 2024. And this is relevant not only to gaming but to engineering simulations, aviation, and medical training.
The utility of VR has seen a jump in recent years. More and more industries are now integrating VR.
So, is VR worth it? Let us explore.
How VR works: Immersion, headsets, controllers, and tracking systems
Virtual Reality tries to regenerate images and videos into real-time visual experiences. These experiences cannot be achieved through a mobile or laptop screen. This is possible due to computer vision, 3D videos and images, and reconstructing distances and scales between 2D images. Users can navigate their environment using VR devices with sensors to experience the content.
Types of VR Experiences
Multiple types of VR or virtual reality experiences are being used in different industries across the globe. Let us explore the various types of VR use cases:
VR offers gamers a never before seen experience. With the latest in immersive technology, players can feel like a part of the game. VR offers gamers the chance to explore and connect with like-minded people in realistic or fictional environments. With VR controllers and tracking systems – players can use their natural movements to control their characters in the game. Another major change VR has brought is the sense of scale. Want to scale a 10-foot mountain – that’s what you’ll get! Want to fight a 3 headed dragon – the sheer size will overwhelm you! VR brings games to life that was never experienced before!
Next on our list of VR experiences is simulations. VR users can face lifelike scenarios that can help in sectors such as education, sports, training, and more. VR simulations replicate real-world situations that offer users a chance to practice their reactions. If you are a doctor, wouldn’t it help if you could practice surgery before having to do it? Or what if you want to practice for combat training – why put yourself in harm’s way unnecessarily? Practicing for your next big game? Connect with your team in a virtual scenario and practice your smart plays. All this and more can be done with the help of VR.
The inclusion of VR in training is changing the method of how people develop their skills. Users can practice multiple scenarios over and over again to make sure that they know just what to do when facing such a situation. These VR training sessions provide safe spaces for learners so that they can check for any mistakes and learn from them without hurting themselves or anyone else.
4. Social Interactions
Are you one of those people who hates connecting with others? Do you get overwhelmed in crowds? Then VR social interactions are perfect for you! VR provides virtual spaces where you can connect with people. You can also create rooms to connect with your loved ones, no matter the distance. One of the biggest reasons to use VR is the ability of the tool to recognize non-verbal communication. You can make your VR Avatar blink, sneeze, and even raise your eyebrows to show emotions.
Also read: Top 10 Metaverse Games To Immerse Yourself
Should I invest in a VR headset?
When choosing to buy the best VR headset, it depends entirely on your budget, interests, and utility. But are VR headsets worth it?
Factors to make a decision
Interests: When you buy a VR headset, look for ones that suit your requirements. If you want one that is only for gaming, you can buy a basic one, but if it’s to practice surgeries or run simulations, you may need a high-end one.
Budget: Buying a VR headset will depend on the money you spend. The experience will be better the more money you are ready to invest.
Try before you buy: Some VR headsets look amazing. But if it doesn’t suit your need, then what’s the use? So, always try VR headsets and check them before you make a purchase.
Is VR really worth it?
Buying VR headsets should not be a simple decision. This is because it is an expensive buy – especially if you want the best experience.
Here are some aspects you need to consider before making a purchase:
1. Hardware and Software Costs
Whenever you make an investment, you always plan ahead. Just like that, you need to check all overhead costs for the VR tool. VR headsets can range from inexpensive to highly expensive. It will depend on your budget. For example, Apple Vision Pro is the latest VR headset that acts as a 3D camera or the original Playstation VR that started it all.
2. Present Limitations
VR technology development is a highly fast-paced industry. But there are limitations. Some include motion sickness, viewing limitations, and restricted movements. Another aspect of VR is its utility in certain industries.
3. VR vs. AR
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are often substitutable. But they run on different technologies. VR pushes the users into virtual realities, whereas AR overlays videos or images into the real world.
Also read: Building An Augmented Reality Application
4. Having an immersive experience
One major reason to choose VR is the immersive experience. Transport yourself into a new world and explore the deep blue.
5. Current and future market scenario
The VR market has seen steady growth over the years. Brands such as Valve, Sony, and Oculus are also entering the market with their VR headsets. With these innovations, VR will slowly move into more industries than before.
Advantages of VR Technology
There are multiple advantages of using Virtual Reality Technology, such as:
1) Realistic experiences
VR tools provide hyper-realistic experiences so that users can have an overall experience. This is something that traditional media lacks. VR lets users experience what is happening in real-time.
2) Virtual travel and escapism
This concept came up during the pandemic. People were stuck and home and wanted a way out. So, rather than traveling, VR implemented ways for users to experience new locations without leaving the comfort of their homes.
3) Interactive gaming experiences
VR provides gamers with realistic interactions that cannot be matched with laptops or video games. Gamers can play interactive sessions where they can build, create and even evolve in the games.
4) Virtual concerts and events
Another aspect that grew during the pandemic, people could take virtual tours or attend concerts virtually. Users could also attend seminars or conferences and interact with the speakers in the Q & A sessions.
5) Educational simulations and training sessions
Are you a soldier wanting to practice drills? Are you a surgeon itching to get a cadaver to practice your sutures? Then why wait? Get VR and conduct your sessions virtually. VR can be used to train pilots using flight simulators or doctors to perform complex surgeries. Even normal day-job employees can improve their daily task skills using VR.
6) Skill enhancement through VR applications
VR or Virtual Reality is perfect for skill enhancement in sectors like art, sports, and music. Want to have your own art viewing? Create a virtual space to show like-minded people your art. Want to learn how to play a new instrument without disrupting the lives of your neighbors? Get online training sessions. VR can help you learn new things within the comfort of your own home.
Also read: Solid-State Batteries
Disadvantages of VR Technology
Now that we know the benefits VR offers let’s look at the downside of the technology:
1) High costs and technical requirements
When thinking of buying VR products, remember the saying ‘the more the sugar, the sweeter the cake’ – so depending on how much you spend – your VR experience will improve. Some VR technology can cost as little as $200-$300 – but some can go upto the thousands. So, it can be expensive. Again, it is not only the VR tool but the supporting items as well, like gaming consoles, or powerful processors – that can be quite costly.
2) Hardware requirements
Any technology or application requires the right hardware to process it. So, if you do not have enough RAM space, good graphic cards, or powerful processors like Steam VR in your computer – VR will not be that good of an experience for you!
3) Motion sickness and dizziness
If you have motion sickness, there is a high chance that VR will not suit you. Some users complain of feeling dizzy when using VR. This is due to sensory dissonance. Think of it like this – let’s say you are playing a VR game where you are climbing a mountain. But physically, you are standing in your living room. Motion sickness is the way your brain shows confusion – because your vision is seeing something else, whereas your body experiences something else.
4) Effects vision and health issues
Using VR tools for a long time can lead to stress on the eyes or can put pressure on the neck. In some cases, users can also experience headaches.
5) Not much diversity with respect to content
VR platforms are growing – but slowly. This means that after a point of time, there’s not much you can do with them. Users can become bored after some time as little content is available. This reduces the overall appeal of the technology.
6) Industries where VR has limited practical use
VR has grown in multiple sectors, but still, its practical use is limited. For example, certain tasks that require more physical than mental labour cannot rely on VR technology. Even some aspects of healthcare, such as counseling, cannot be substituted with VR.
Also read: What’s The Battery Life of Oculus Quest 2?
Which are the best Virtual Reality VR headsets and Best VR Companies?
There are VR companies providing VR headsets in the market, but is VR worth it? Let’s take a look at some choices accessible:
1) Meta Quest 2 – It is among the best and most reasonably priced Virtual Reality headsets available in the market
2) Meta Quest Pro – A work-focused pro wireless headset that can be a little more expensive
3) PlayStation VR 2 – One of the best high-end gaming headsets that can set you back thousands
4) HP Reverb G2 – Considered to be the Ryan Gosling of VR headsets
5) Samsung Gear VR – A smart virtual reality headset built by Samsung with Oculus VR
6) Oculus Rift – The Virtual Reality or VR headset designed to match high-powered PCs
FAQs on Is VR Worth It
Q:1) What are some free things to do in VR?
Some free things you can do with VR are:
- Explore new locations and cities
- Learn a new skill
Q:2) How much is a VR headset worth?
Depending on the brand and use, VR headsets can range between $300 to $1000.
Q:3) How is the Oculus Quest 2 headset better than the Oculus Quest?
The Oculus Quest 2 has multiple improvements over the original one. Such as:
- Better processors
- Higher resolution
- Lower pricing
Q:4) Is it harmful to use VR for a long period every day?
Playing on VR every day is safe, but moderately. But prolonged exposure can lead to problems such as issues with vision, motion sickness, and in some cases, neck pain or headaches.
Q:5) Why are VR headsets so expensive?
VR headsets are still pretty expensive. This is because it is a relatively new technology that is currently within a small niche market.
Q:6) Can VR be used for mental health?
Virtual Reality technology is great for support in mental health issues. Patients coping with PTSD can use VR to get support. People with anxiety can use it to create safe spaces for themselves. Even children with autism can learn repetitive skills and practice them using VR.
Now that we have a better understanding of VR technology, it should help answer the question – is VR worth it in 2024?
Also, as digital experiences become the go-to for the present generations – exploring VR dimensions is gaining popularity. VR offers you the chance of a lifetime –
Want to visit Paris and watch the sunset on the Eiffel Tower – VR can do it for you!
Want to learn how to play the violin but don’t want to invest hundreds on the instrument – VR is there for you!
Want to practice a complex surgery to understand your capabilities – VR can help!
But just like any technology, there are people who will learn to abuse Virtual Reality.
This is where the government, IT regulations, and controlling of such virtual realities are required. But what people need to understand is that nothing can beat the real-life experience – no matter how much VR tries. Also, unlike VR, life does not have a rewind or restart button.
So, Finally VR worth it or not?
The answer lies in the utility of the product. If you want to use it to bring growth to your life or to experience something new – then VR is for you!
But not using it precisely will cost you!
So, let’s see how far VR goes and how many dreams it fulfills!