The first sixteen years of the 21st century has seen major and quick advancements in the development of virtual reality (VR). Computer technology, especially small and powerful mobile technologies, have exploded while prices are continuously driven downward. The rapid rise of smartphones with high-density displays and 3D graphics capabilities has enabled a generation of lightweight and practical VR devices. The video game industry has continued to drive the rapid development of consumer VR unabated. Depth sensing cameras sensor suites, motion controllers and natural human interfaces are already a part of everyday human computing tasks.
Recently companies like Google have released interim VR products such as the Google Cardboard, a DIY headset that uses a smartphone to drive it. Companies like Samsung have taken this concept even further with products such as Galaxy Gear VR, which is mass produced and contains “smart” features like gesture control.
Developer versions of final consumer VR gaming products have also been available for a few years, so there has been a constant stream of software projects creating content for the imminent market entrance of modern virtual reality.
It seems clear that 2017 will be an even more awesome year than 2016 in the virtual reality industry. Multiple consumer devices that seem to finally answer the unfulfilled promises made by virtual reality in the 1990s will come to market at this time. These include the pioneering Oculus Rift, which was purchased by social media giant Facebook in 2014 for the staggering sum of $2 Billion. An incredible vote of confidence of where the industry is going. When the Oculus Rift, was released in 2016 it competed with products from Valve Corporation and HTC Vive, Microsoft as well as Sony Computer Entertainment. These heavyweights are sure to be followed by many other enterprises, when the market takes off as expected due to much more affordable VR gear.