There has been quite a bit of good content over the last couple of weeks. My focus in this commentary is VR.
I’ve posted several times abut VR, and those of you who know me personally will know that I’ve been running VR headsets for years – right back to the very earliest Oculus developer kits that represented a step-change in this technology.
VR is going to change the world, and a VR future is not far off now. There are a small number of (surmountable) issues holding VR back. One is cost & ease, and one is the quality of the VR experience.
Addressing the question of cost & ease, Facebook has recently announced the upcoming ‘Oculus Go’. This is a ‘standalone’ device (read: you don’t need to plug it into your computer) priced at $199. Although this will not provide highly advanced graphics, it should be able to deliver a compelling VR experience for 3D movies and games with simple graphics. I expect that this will be a huge step up from the mobile-phone-based VR experiences out there, while being just as easy (given no PC connection, presumably wireless) … and it’s $199!
Secondly, on the question of VR quality, technology has a proven track record of delivering rapid progress in visual fidelity. Just think of the gaming world, moving from the early ‘pong’ / Atari / Commodore 64 games through to the latest billion-dollar-release Battlefield game. Our VR trajectory is going to be much much faster.
One dark horse in this area worth noting is Magic Leap. Magic Leap is a highly secretive VR business that has just passed through series D funding. This adds about $500 million to their war chest, bringing total funding close to $2 Billion so far. Their total valuation is now several bilion dollars, and investors include the likes of J.P Morgan, Fidelity, Alibaba, Google, and Warner Bros. Magic leap are promising a revolutionary new form of Virtual / Augmented Reality that simulates how light is sent into the human eye. In other words, it projects light into your eye in a way that is supposed to be indistinguishable from the ‘real’ world (!).
I believe that VR will hit the world like a freight train within a few short years, and VR is going to be as pervasive as HD televisions not long after that.
I’ve made some commentary in the past as to how this might impact business & society. It’s time to make plans.