The buzz was hot around virtual reality this year at E3. With Oculus headsets dominating the space, it was interesting to see other companies compete for the areas in which Oculus didn’t quite show up … controllers.
While VR may still be in its infancy, two companies that stood out in taking over the controller space were Omni and Nod. Uniquely different, Omni has created a whole apparatus that allows users to virtually walk through their gaming space.
Omni Present at E3
So far the company is only designed for shooting games, but the walking experience is a surefire sign of what is to come in the gaming world. And with a price point of $699, the intention is to get these oversized gaming machines into everyone’s home, but the practicality begs a different response.
Sure, it may look like the future, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. When gaming becomes something that you need a 4’ x 4’ space for, it separates out the users. Who actually has room to put this bulky, treadmill-esque, piece of gaming equipment in their living room or bedroom?
Compared to gaming consoles, it might as well be David and Goliath. And gamers look ridiculous while immersed in their virtual world. On the flipside, the contraption does allow players to get off their butts and physically move. When it comes to fitness, it may win points for some. Omni claims you can burn up to 300 calories per hour. That is if you don’t get a headache or become nauseous before that time.
Nod’s Wearable Controller
Then there was Nod. Focusing more on wearable ring controllers. This company only recently moved into the gaming space when they raised a Series A round of $13.2 million. The mission of the firm is to develop its technology outside of gaming and into smart home controllers.
Their goal is to have Nod rings control your television, thermostat, lights, etc. For gaming, they are concentrating on providing a controller comparable to a sleek wearable Wii on your fingers. Does it work? Yes, but the gaming isn’t quite up to par yet. They did, however, debut the use of a drone controller, and demoed a mini drone in their booth using the Nod ring.
The Era of Virtual Reality
Outside of E3, VR is quickly becoming a trending topic among Silicon Valley tech enthusiasts. Rothenberg Ventures, a millennial venture capital firm located in San Francisco, recently launched the world’s first VR accelerator, River, taking on 13 inaugural companies.
The possibilities of virtual reality for Rothenberg reach far beyond gaming. They have invested in companies that are looking into pain management therapy, empathetic storytelling, and big budget Hollywood productions.
We may soon see shopping, travel experiences, and possibly socializing come into play in the next five to ten years. Ultimately, it will be up to the people to determine whether virtual reality becomes an era of novelty, or transforms the way we interact with the world.
Keep in mind, virtual reality does have an isolating quality that may suppress human connectivity and start to hinder depth of field perceptions. There was a reason our parents told us to not sit so close to the TV or we would go blind. VR is literally putting the TV directly on your face.