When thinking about one year ago, virtual reality seemed to be the most exciting thing in the tech world. Oculus had just fulfilled most of its shipment for the 2nd developer’s version of the Oculus Rift. Samsung had just announced the 1st developers version of the Gear VR. It was all exciting.
Don’t get me wrong — there is still excitement. But the prospect of visiting China through your virtual reality glasses doesn’t hold the same thrill it used to. After the “cool” factor wore down, many are now realizing the limits of virtual reality and that the technology has a long way to go before making people feel truly immersive.
The good news is that Facebook is trying to amp the excitement for virtual reality by building a virtual reality app. The Wall Street Journal has the news.
“The social network is working on a stand-alone video app that would support 360-degree or ‘spherical’ videos, people familiar with the matter said. The format, typically compiled from multiple cameras, allows users to change their viewing perspective by tilting their phones.”
Now, keep in mind, that 360 degree videos on phones aren’t the type of virtual reality experiences people think of — they usually think of the big virtual reality goggles. However, something like this could get people more familiar with virtual reality. If the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift has a Facebook app (99.9 percent likely), then people can view the 360 degree videos through the virtual reality device. The only problem — some think it’s still not worth it.
The main problem with virtual reality headsets is the “screen door effect,” where viewers can see individual pixels rather than a crystal-clear image. Even the Quad HD screens of the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6 aren’t packed with enough pixel density to get rid of this effect. A virtual reality device needs to have at least a 4K screen.
There is also the tunnel vision effect, which isn’t so bad on the latest Oculus Rift or the Gear VR that is made for the Galaxy Note 4. However, it is absolutely horrible for the latest Gear VR made for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. It makes the virtual reality experience laughable and frustrating at the same time.
It is rumored that Samsung’s Galaxy O series smartphones will have 4K screens that will be used with the first commercial version of the Gear VR. This will be an important step in making virtual reality mainstream. The virtual reality industry needs to keep moving fast before people become completely uninterested. If it happened with Google Glass, it could happen with the Oculus Rift and other devices.