Virtual Reality Summer 2015

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Virtual reality (VR) utilizes 3D imaging and motion tracking to create a simulated environment where the user interacts and manipulates with its surroundings. Many have attempted to create a VR device, but were unsuccessful due to technological limitations. Regardless, the impact of past innovations contributed towards the present state of VR.

Although numerous VR headsets exist in the market, few are affordable and are mainly intended for military or health applications. Today, with greater technological capabilities, consumer VR devices are becoming a reality. Examples of potential business applications include gaming, entertainment, tourism, education, and real estate. While VR began in the 1950s, VR is a far cry from what it was decades ago. VR headsets can be revolutionary, but there are challenges to address before VR gains traction with the public. Nonetheless, VR has the potential to change the way individuals operate in their personal and work life. 2016 is expected to be the year of VR as high-end VR headsets begin to be commercially available to consumers.


An Epic Introduction to Virtual Reality

Contents

Distinguishing Virtual Reality (VR) from Augmented Reality (AR)

Both VR and AR immerse the user in digitally generated content through wearable hardware, but the difference stems from the degree of interaction with the real world. AR makes use of interaction with the real world through blending digital images with the physical environment.[1] An example is Google Glass, which assists the user with their daily activities such as messaging or navigation. On the other hand, VR is achieved as the user equips a headset that combines 3D projection through the eyes and real-time head tracking. The user is then immersed in a virtual world, with minimal interaction with the real world. Thus, AR interacts with the real world, while VR interacts with a virtual world.

Significant Developments

Year and Name of Innovation Description Image
1957 – The Sensorama Visionary cinematographer Morton H. Eilig wanted to create a “cinema of the future” by using sensory enhancements to accompany short films.[2] Eilig created the Sensorama, which is considered to be the first case of VR. The Sensorama's appearance is similar to an arcade machine, but in terms of function it provides the user with the illusion of reality by stimulating four of the five senses: sight, smell, hearing, and touch. The Sensorama provided a 3D motion picture with stereo sounds, seat vibrations, fans, and aromas.

While innovative, it was also large, awkward, and very expensive to produce.[3] Although Eilig pitched the Sensorama to companies such as Ford, he was unable to generate funding. As a result, the Sensorama did not move past the prototype stage. [4]

1962 - Headsight The first head-mounted display (HMD) called Headsight was developed by Philco Corporation engineers Comeau and Bryan. The Headsight included a video screen and a head tracking system attached to a closed circuit camera system. This allows the HMD to display a video image of a remote location and change the view according to the user’s measured head direction. [5] The Headsight was used primarily for viewing dangerous situations remotely, and as a result was used primarily by the U.S. military. [6]
1968 – Sword of Damocles Computer scientist Ivan Sutherland envisioned what he called the “Ultimate Display”. A person using the display would be able to look into a virtual world that appears as real as the physical world. [7]

Sutherland started development on a HMD known as the Sword of Damocles due to the fact it hung from the ceiling. [8] This HMD is able to display images in stereo, which gives the users the illusion of depth. [9] It also contains a head tracking system, allowing the user to look around freely from their point of view. It was the first VR device to display a everything in computer generated graphics. [10]

Although the Sword of Damocles was an incredible innovation at the time, there were many problems that prevented it from gaining traction. Its design and technology was primitive, with the graphics consisting of only simple wire-frame rooms. The headset itself was uncomfortable to use and expensive to produce. In addition, the system was not entirely immersive as users were able to see their surroundings through the transparent parts of the device. [11] However, Sutherland’s innovation has paved the way for future VR devices such as the Oculus Rift.

Responsive Environments Computer artist Myron Kruegar developed prototypes for what would become the first responsive environment. It would respond to movements and gestures of users in order to create video projections. This is the earliest innovation that led to creating a completely immersive environment.
1969 - Glowflow Kruegar created several responsive environment projects, each one building from the feedback on the previous project. None of his projects required the users to wear any form of wearable device. The first project was the Glowflow, which consists of a darkened room with tubes of light and sensors laid out on the floor. It responds to the user’s footsteps by lighting different tubes and creating different sounds as they walk across the room.
1970 - Metaplay In the following year Kruegar created Metaplay. This project emphasizes the interaction between participants and the environment. Users in the room have their shadows projected onto a video screen where an artist is able to draw images directly onto the user's projections. This allows the artist to interact with the participants through writing and drawing.
1975 - Videoplace Kruegar’s major project, Videoplace was a VR simulator. It consists of two or more rooms that have the same image projected onto the screen. The image is a projection of the shadows of all users in every room. As the user moves around the room, their projected shadow also moves. The users are able to interact with each other’s shadows, as well as any graphically represented object on the screen. Examples of user interactions include shrinking, rotating, and coloring images. [12]

The development of Videoplace continued until the late 1980s and is the first interactive environment to use gestures and movements as a form of input. It is a precursor to the development of more recent motion sensing devices such as the Microsoft Kinect and the Nintendo Wii. [13]

Wired Gloves Wired gloves are an input device that captures physical data such as finger bending and hand movements. [14] These innovations led development to a more immersive experience.
1977 - Sayre Glove The Sayre glove, developed by Thomas de Fanti and Daniel Sandin, was the first wired glove. It is a lightweight and inexpensive glove with a single sensor capable of only finger bending, therefore, it was not widely used. [15]
1987 - DataGlove The DataGlove is a custom wired glove built specifically for NASA by Thomas Zimmerman at VPL Research. It is equipped with a magnetic tracking system and multiple sensors which allows the glove and the hand inside to be followed in 3D space. It also gives the user the ability to handle virtual objects freely.

The DataGlove was the first commercially available wired glove as it was later marketed by VPL. [16] It was made popular among researchers due to the number of sensors included. As a result, several similar devices were developed. [17]

1989 - Power Glove The Power Glove was was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was designed as a gaming glove with a tracker, finger bending sensors, and buttons on the back. [18] However, it was considered a failure because it did not meet expectations. The glove itself was clunky and the motion tracker included was imprecise. [19]
1990 - Virtuality Group Virtuality is a UK-based company that produced VR gaming machines found in arcade stores during the early 1990s. It included a stereoscopic visor, joysticks, and networked units for multi-player gaming. [20]

Virtuality was short-lived due to several reasons. The price of the hardware was higher than any other arcade machine, and the per-play entry was 10 times the cost of other machines for three minutes of play. [21] There were also many negative consumer experiences such as having to wear a heavy and unbalanced headset, and the overall poor graphics and games that caused consumers to refrain from replaying the game. Essentially, Virtuality tried to mask the underwhelming performance of its technology and games with their flashy arcade pods. [22]

1994 - Sega VR-1 SEGA released the SEGA VR-1. This was its take on a VR headset that was planned for use in both arcades and as a home console. The headset includes dual LCD screens and stereo headphones. However, only the arcade version was released while the console versions were cancelled. This was mainly due to the headset’s inability to produce a true, lifelike sense of immersion. In addition, there were many negative consumer reports of getting motion sickness while using the SEGA VR-1. [23]
1995 - Virtual Boy The Nintendo Virtual Boy was a failed portable video game console. It contained a monochromatic visor that simulated a 3D view on its games. [24]

The Virtual Boy was discontinued after just one year due to several flaws. The headset displayed images in only red and black because red LED’s at the time were the cheapest and the most efficient. [25] Creating it in full colour would have made the hardware too expensive and result in jumpy images. [26] In addition, the Virtual Boy offered a small game library consisting of 22 games with only 14 released in North America. [27]

Implications from the Evolution of VR

Up until the Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift, there had been minimal commercial success of any VR related products. This was largely due to a lack of technology that prevented the development of an application that consumers would find fascinating. In addition, the past devices were much more costly than they are today, with VR headsets from the late 1980s costing anywhere between $50,000 and $200,000. [28] However, consumers were able to get their first taste of VR in the early 1990s when Virtuality released their VR gaming machines. Sega and Nintendo also attempted to enter the VR headset market shortly after. At the time, VR was generating plenty of interest, but the technology was not able to meet expectations. [29] As a result, many were dissatisfied with VR as a whole, and developers pulled its support of VR shortly after. [30]

The consumer's expectation of VR in the 1990s far exceeded the technological capabilities at the time. Despite the curiosity it created, the idea of VR lay dormant throughout the late 1990s to the late 2000s. However, with the introduction of the Oculus Rift in 2012, interest in VR was reignited. As technology continues to improve, so did the development of VR, and consumers will be able to access it at a relatively cheaper price. [31] This has allowed more competitors to enter the market, and 2016 will show off the early capabilities of what VR can do.

Current Technologies

A number of VR headsets are being developed for release between late 2015 and the first half of 2016. The headsets work similarly as they all employ 3D image projection along with orientation and positional tracking. Various input devices or controllers are also being developed to enhance interactions within a VR environment.

How VR Works

Most VR environments are created with a HMD that tracks head movement. The HMD consists of a screen which creates an image for each eye at slightly different perspectives to create a stereoscopic 3D effect. [32] The resulting image from the screen is projected through the lenses. This covers the user’s field of view to create an illusion of depth, thus immersing the user in the virtual environment.

How an image is projected inside the Oculus Rift

With present VR technologies, input to the screen is sent via connection between a computer running a VR application and the HMD, such as HDMI. To align the user’s sight, orientation tracking is required. Orientation tracking adjusts the image accordingly as the user rotates their view left and right to reflect what is seen virtually. Finally, to become more immersed, full positional tracking is being developed with recent VR technologies such as the Oculus Rift. [33]A position tracker, either built inside the HMD or as a separate device that works with the HMD, monitors the user’s head movement to determine where the user is. This allows the user to lean forward or physically move around in the virtual environment. [34]

VR Headsets

The introduction of the Oculus Rift in 2012 resurrected VR development, and garnered interest from gamers and developers. VR shows a promise of applications including gaming, work, and communication. As a result, many companies have taken an initiative to capitalize on the trend of VR, which has led to the development of a number of VR headsets.

Oculus Rift

Invented by VR enthusiast Palmer Luckey, Oculus Rift is the first consumer virtual reality technology that reinvigorated the VR industry. With the help of the renowned American game developer John Carmack, who is now CTO, Oculus Rift demoed in E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) during 2012. [35] A Kickstarter campaign ran between June and August 2012. The crowdfunding had a target goal of $250k, but it went on to raise $2.4 million. An early development kit was given to users who pledged a minimum amount of $300. [36]

Oculus Rift Consumer Version 1


Oculus Rift's Kickstarter campaign during 2012

In late 2012, the first developer kit (DK1) became available to the public, shipping in March 2013. The Oculus Rift DK1 had weak specs, including a low-resolution screen which created a screen-door effect. [1] The screen-door effect arises when looking too closely at a low-resolution screen, and as a result users reported difficulty in reading text while wearing the device. Secondly, while orientation tracking was available, one of the biggest concerns of the DK1 was the lack of positional tracking. Nonetheless, the immersive environment created by DK1 excited both developers and gamers. The DK1 sold out at 65,000 units in February 2014.

Comparison of the screen door effect inside the DK1 and DK2

In March 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg created a Facebook post upon the acquisition, claiming to support Luckey’s vision of bringing VR to gaming before moving towards other entertainment and social experiences. Oculus in turn, received the financial support needed to fulfill their objectives. [2]

Consumer release of the Oculus Rift is slated for Q1 2016, with pre-orders beginning late 2015. [3] This refined version builds on top of the development kit predecessors, and is expected to include improved ergonomics and more accurate head tracking. Positional tracking will use a microphone-shaped device that is small enough to sit on top of a desk. The screen resolution will be 1080×1200 for each eye and include integrated headphones. Currently, the consumer price for the Oculus Rift has yet to be revealed.

HTC Vive

HTC Vive

Announced in March 2015, the HTC Vive is a collaboration between two companies, consumer electronics manufacturer HTC and the video game producer Valve. The Vive aims to leverage Valve’s SteamVR interface, which works with its online gaming platform Steam. This allows the HTC Vive to integrate with the VR compatible gaming services Steam provides. The expected release date for the Vive is late 2015.

Compared to the Oculus Rift, the HMD is similar with 1080x1200 resolution on consumer release, and operates at 90 frames per second features built-in audio. However, different from the Oculus Rift, the Vive makes use of full positional tracking to provide a standing and walking experience. This positional tracking is enabled by base stations, called Lighthouse, which are mounted at the corners of a room. Aside from tracking head and body movement, Lighthouse maps walls within the virtual environment. [4]

Project Morpheus

Project Morpheus

Sony Computer Entertainment is developing its own VR device designed to exclusively support PlayStation 4 gaming. Project Morpheus includes a screen of 960 x 1080 in each eye, a refresh rate of 120 Hz compared to the 90 Hz of the Rift’s Crescent Bay model. First announced in March 2014, it is expected to release in the first half of 2016. Sony plans to make Project Morpheus use current devices such as the PlayStation Camera to improve head tracking and the DualShock 4 Wireless Controller and PlayStation Move for input. [5]

Razer OSVR

Razer has developed the OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality), and it is designed to expand the VR gaming industry by fostering an open-source platform. It provides developers with the ability to configure both the software and hardware, whereas Oculus Rift only supports software. The earliest version of the OSVR has similar specs to the Oculus Rift and is currently purchasable from Razer for $200. [6]

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard is a low-cost approach to provide a basic experience of VR. As the name suggests, users can purchase a DIY Cardboard kit from numerous manufacturers, with prices starting as low as $3. The unique feature of the Cardboard is it uses a smartphone to create VR by projecting the image through the lens provided by a Cardboard kit. This serves as a HMD, providing positional tracking using the gyroscope sensor of the smartphone. Users can download apps compatible with Cardboard on Google Play. However, the limitations of the Cardboard requires a smartphone that is reasonably powerful and has a screen of greater than 4 inches. More importantly, there is a lack of immersion compared to other VR headsets as a result of the small field of view pertaining to Cardboard. [7]

Samsung Gear VR

Google Cardboard (left) versus Samsung GearVR (right)

Samsung Gear VR is the first commercially available headset in the market since the debut of the Oculus Rift. As a collaboration with Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR is developed to be similar to Google Cardboard by making use of a smartphone to emulate VR. In addition, Gear VR has built-in head-tracking to overcome the latency issues that stem from smartphone sensors. Gear VR costs $200 and is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, S6, or S6 edge. An advantage for owners of these smartphones is they will have the convenience of mounting the smartphone onto the Gear VR HMD to use VR immediately. The advertised applications include watching movies and gaming. [8]

FOVE Inc.

FOVE differentiates itself from its competitors by using eye tracking technology along with the HMD to increase the degree of realistic interaction. FOVE claims eye tracking is the 3rd generation of VR immersion, with orientation and positional tracking being the earlier generations respectively. Features of eye tracking with FOVE are reported to be reduced motion sickness through using eye tracking to eliminate unnatural head movements, as well as enhanced communication with AI characters in games. FOVE will be compatible with existing applications that work with other VR technologies designed for the computer such as Oculus Rift. [9] FOVE was announced in July 2014 and is expected to ship its development kit in Spring 2016. The consumer version of FOVE will range from $400-$500.

VR Input Devices

To improve upon the HMDs that already create an immersive VR experience, input devices are being developed to interact within a virtual environment without being bound by the traditional keyboard and mouse. Several companies are developing computer input devices that emulate hand or full body movement for greater immersion. Below lists several of such devices.


Demo of Grand Theft Auto V using the Virtuix Omni
  • Oculus Touch: Oculus is developing its own set of VR controllers which are intended to improve the immersive experience. The controller will allow users to sync hand movement inside the Rift and send communication gestures to interact with a game. Alternatively, Oculus has announced every Rift will be bundled with a Xbox One Wireless Controller for users to play games. [1]
  • Leap Motion: This input device tracks hand motion as opposed to requiring a sensor or controller equipped on the hand. Leap Motion works by placing a motion controller on a desk and attaching a VR sensor onto a VR headset. While it is a available for sale, it is still intended for developers. [2]
  • Sixense STEM: The Sixense STEM is designed for both video games and VR. It includes tracking of all four limbs and the head. Tracking is enabled by attaching a STEM pack onto the body, and input is sent through a wireless controller. STEM was funded on Kickstarter for approximately $600,000 on October 2013. [3]
  • Control VR: Unlike other input devices, Control VR uses gloves to specifically track hand movement. Its function includes the ability to play games, create virtual drawing, designs, and music. [4]
  • Virtuix Omni: The Virtuix Omni provides a VR gaming experience that involves walking, running, sitting, and jumping in a virtual environment. Physically, the Virtuix Omni works by standing on its machine to track movement. The user is kept in place through a harness. Currently, it is available for $700. [5]


Oculus Touch Leap Motion Sixense Stem Control VR Virtuix Omni

Current Applications

Military

VR technology is widely used in the U.S. military, enhancing training safety and comprehensiveness for soldiers. Inside the virtual world, military training can practice in diverse situations, where higher risks are usually involved. This ensures soldiers to experience a variety of intense situations to help them better prepare for real world combat. [6] The U.S. Army has invested $57 million in the development of VR training using HMD technology, which benefited them in many fields of military training programs such as flight simulation and combat simulation. [7]

Flight Simulator

Flight simulation best demonstrates the usage of VR in the military. It requires the simulator to be located on a hydraulic lift simulating the engine room. The simulator connects to the software system and the seat tilts or twists while the pilot steers to emulate real aircraft movements. It provides force-feedback, enabling the pilot to make corresponding adjustments. Flight simulation not only assists pilots to familiarize themselves with aircraft control, but also decreases the risks and costs of air force training. As a result, it has become widely used by the U.S. Air force, Army and Navy. [8]

VR is also used widely for combat simulation, and is usually applied to training new recruits. Soldiers wear specialized headsets to track their movements, arm themselves with VR weapons, and interact with their teammates in the virtual environment. They are able to experience how a real battlefield operates, and enhance their teamwork in a safe and controlled environment. [9]

The application of VR has helped the military industry tremendously due to its cost efficiency and the feasibility to practice in simulated real life cases, equipping soldiers with more complete combat abilities. According to the U.S. Air Force, “reducing flying time by 5% and apply the virtual simulation instead could save an estimated amount of $ 1.7 billion over five years between FY 2012 TO FY 2016.” [10] More importantly, a review study on virtual training exhibited great results in improving trainee performance. VR has been proven to be effective and will continue to be used for the sustainable development of the military. [11]

Healthcare

VR Therapy

  • How VR Therapy on PTSD Works
PTSD treatment using VR

VR technology has been used to diagnose soldiers who suffer from PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). The patient will be asked questions regarding the traumatic experience, and the information generated will help the therapist set up variables to create the traumatic scene. The patient will be guided into the scene using the VR headset. The therapist will have access to control the level of stress by adjusting variables in the scene and therefore help the patient adapt to the stress. [12]

  • Benefits of VR Therapy

The U.S. Air force claimed that approximately 28% of U.S. soldiers who returned from Iraq are suffering from mental distress. A study from the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry states 14% of returning soldiers from Iraq are victims of PTSD. Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, president of the Virtual Reality Medical Institute explained that from his 30 years of research and studies, the only effective treatment for trauma is to let the patient confront the scene in their memory again and overcome the negative psychological impact. The feature of VR therapy matches this method perfectly by rebuilding the traumatic experience and helping patients recover mentally. Furthermore, a study from the Office of Naval Research displayed positive results as 16 participants out of 20 soldiers suffering from PTSD showed improvement. Although critics for VR therapy on PTSD insist reviving traumatic memories is risky as it could make a patients’ conditions worse, VR therapy has still been recognized as an effective medical procedure. [13]

VR Medical Training

  • VR Surgery and Nursing Training
VR Surgery

By having a visual representation of what trainees need to learn from either a first or third person view, the learning experience can greatly be enhanced. VR places the trainee directly in the trainer's’ perspective, allowing them to see exactly what the trainer sees. With all these features, VR is fit to serve medical training, especially in nursing and surgery. The issue with the traditional medical training are mainly the safety concerns and the limited opportunity to practice on all kinds of medical cases to be fully qualified. The VR application in medical training allows trainees to be able to practice without risking any harm to the patient as the whole procedure is performed by the trainee digitally in the virtual world. Moreover, various medical cases are available for practice, which provides more variety and flexibility for trainees to improve their skills. [14]

Entertainment

VR Gaming

Elite Dangerous
Affected
RollerCoaster

VR gaming is currently in the development stage as most VR games available are limited to demos and VR-supported games. VR-supported games are modifications of normal games, which use third-party software and add-ons to modify the original games’ features and contents such that they can be supported by VR devices (Eg. Half-life 2, GTA V). [15] Intugame VR is an example of the third-party software that is able to convert 3D games to VR-supported games .[16] However, this method does not provide an immersive experience as original VR games, which are designed with the intention of being VR compatible. As a result, these games are the key drivers towards fueling the future development of the VR gaming market. Currently, popular original VR games include Elite Dangerous (Spaceship combat), Affected (Horror game), and roller coaster simulators.

The state of the VR gaming market is not established. There are currently only 30 released game software, including both VR-supported and original VR games for the Oculus Rift. [17] The biggest limitation is immature VR technology resulting in ordinary gameplay, and thus it does not take advantage for what the headset is originally intended for. [18] However, VR gaming is expected to be the biggest application of VR technology for consumers in the short-term. Joining the Oculus Rift in the VR gaming market is the collaboration of HTC and Valve, which will provide a large VR gaming platform (SteamVR) that is predicted to increase the selection of VR games in the near future. The HTC Vive device is designed to support not only sitting, but also standing and walking features which enhances the variety of experiences. [19] Sony’s Project Morpheus is another significant factor of VR gaming in 2016. The Morpheus is targeting a different market through console gaming with its PlayStation 4. [20] With the establishment of these devices, VR gaming is expected to have a breakout year in 2016 according to buzz generated from the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) showing. [21]

Media Entertainment

Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" Concert

Initial forms of media entertainment have gradually integrated VR in their business models. Jaunt, a company which specializes in creating cinematic VR experiences, released its first VR production, Paul McCartney’s live concert “Live and Let Die” on November 2014. Users access the live concert by being able to experience the concert from all angles. The consumer can be in the middle of the crowd, experience front-row seating, or even hover near the performer while Paul performs on his piano. The Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard versions are both available for fans to enjoy the show once again with a completely new experience. Jaunt is also working on developing sports games and movies using the immersive VR technology, devoting themselves to creating a new medium of entertainment. [22]

Automotive

Ford's Immersive Vehicle Evaluation Lab

Ford Motor Company is a pioneer in applying VR technology to car designs and its production process. Ford Immersive Vehicle Evaluation (FIVE) Lab was founded in 2000, and became a valuable tool when high-end VR headsets became available. Designers and employees are able to share the screen while s VR-enabled vehicle model is being tested. The test will generate feedback for designers and engineers to identify the issues of the vehicle from a 4K-resolution view. This allows vehicle models to be tested even before they are manufactured. As well, the flexibility of vehicle production using this approach increases dramatically, allowing engineers to maximize their creativity. [1] Ford is able improve their designs as a result.

The success of FIVE Lab has resulted in shorter production cycles, and other automotive manufacturers are beginning to apply VR technology as well. Audi announced in 2015 they will begin to use VR technology to showcase its vehicles to customers more in-depth. [2] Toyota have utilized VR technology to educate its audience on distracted driving. [3] From the benefits already shown, it is expected VR integration in the automotive sector will continue to increase.

Future Developments

In order to understand the projected sales of VR and as its impact on other business markets, it is important to comprehend where the technology stands presently. The following are two models to help illustrate where VR is in terms of market penetration.

Gartner's Hype Cycle

Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a research methodology to estimate where a new technology stands in terms of adoption, maturity, and social application. The cycle is divided into five phases, each representing a stage where a new technology could end up. The five stages are as follows: [4]

Gartner's Hype Cycle

1. Technology Trigger: New technology is introduced either as a breakthrough or vast improvement. In this stage, stories about the potential of a technology are spread and gathers significant attention. The technology in question may still be in conceptual form and not yet released.

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations: Stories and news about the new technology hit a high. At this stage some successes and failures have occurred.

3. Trough of Disillusionment: Interest in the technology decreases due to little advancements on the productivity and implementation.

4. Slope of Enlightenment: News of how the technology can be used to create value is spread with a greater audience understanding it. Second/Third generation models of the technology create results that are worth noting.

5. Plateau of Productivity: The technology enters mainstream market with greater metrics to assess its worth. The technology appeals to many and is utilized in various applications.

Various consultants have differing views on where VR lies in terms of the Hype Cycle. Kzero, a VR consulting firm believes it to be in near the peak of inflated expectations, due to the widespread stories of its potential benefits. [5] Gartner believes VR to be in the trough of disillusionment due to the current products being unable to meet what was promised. On a greater scale, VR could also potentially stand at the slope of enlightenment. VR has made great progress the last 60 years, as many forms of VR have come into the market. Although most iterations failed to gain commercial success, they have now furthered the development for a true complete model which meets user expectations.

Technology Adoption Cycle

The Technology Adoption Cycle is used to analyze where a technology stands in regards to the various consumers groups in the market. Consumers can be divided into the five following categories: [6]

The Technology Adoption Cycle depicting Geoffrey Moore's Chasm

1. Innovators: This group is tech savvy and try out whatever is new on the market. They tend to show interest in technology not only for business applications, but to satisfy their hobbies in exploring new trends. (2.5% of market)

2. Early Adopters: This group goes out and finds new technology for business purposes. These people see value in how technology can improve or change the way things are done. They are the pioneers leading change for businesses, and are the main group that must be appealed to. (13.5% of market)

3. Early Majority: This group is hesitant with new technology, and would rather stick to what is used currently. They prefer current practices because they are understood and offer little risk. (34% of market)

4. Late Majority: This group is skeptical of the new technology and similar to the Early Majority, they stick to what they understand. This group is likely to switch over to the new technology when it has become mainstream and utilized by many consumers. (34% of market)

5. Laggards: This group represents those that will not be receptive of the new technology. This group is typically excluded as a group to appeal to. (16% of market)

Geoffrey Moore, a prominent American organizational theorist, author, and consultant noted that for new technology to see success in the mainstream market, they must first cross a “chasm” within the technology adoption cycle. Geoffrey Moore’s “chasm” exists between the Early Adopters stage and the Early Majority stage. Those in the Early Adopters are trying to convince others about how the technology can create benefits and value, whereas those in the Early Majority are skeptical due to their unfamiliarity with it. As a result of differing mentalities, technology companies find it difficult to bridge the gap between the two groups. Geoffrey Moore stated that to attract others into seeing the positives of a technology is through referencing. Consumers who are satisfied with a product share their experience with others who are similar to them, thus spreading the word. Referencing in this case is difficult because of the vastly differing mentalities of both Early Adopters and the Early Majority. [7]

For the case of VR, it can be described as a technology trying to bridge the “chasm.” This is because many pioneers for change (early adopters) see the value of VR and how it can improve many businesses and create a more immersive form of entertainment. For example, while the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is intended for application and content creators, there exists gamers and businesses who have purchased the device in anticipation of the potential benefits of VR. However, since the technology has not been fully developed or released in the mainstream market to the point where it reaches critical acclaim, the people within the current infrastructure (Early Majority) are wary of adopting it. Even when the upcoming VR headsets are released, VR will require much more applications to be developed before it can cross the chasm to the early majority.

Projected Sales

VR and AR are relatively new in terms of distribution and usage, and as a result does not generate large sales currently. However, experts forecast the impact VR and AR could have in the market to be substantial. According to BusinessInsider, shipments of VR gear will generate sales of $2.8 billion by 2020 in the hardware market. This is a vast increase from its estimated worth of $37 million in 2015. This exponential increase in potential sales correlates with growing VR gear adoption rates of 99% between 2015 and 2020. [8] Furthermore, according to Digi-Capital, an international advising firm which specializes in providing expert opinion in markets such as mobile internet, AR/VR, and gaming, VR/AR is going to generate an expected $150 billion market by 2020. This massive market share is comprised of $120 billion from AR and $30 billion from VR. [9]

Forecasted sales for both AR & VR market

AR is projected to have higher sales and popularity compared to VR because of the experience they offer. VR technology is closed immersive experience, while AR is open and partly immersive. VR creates a virtual world and makes the user delve into it while AR brings elements of the virtual world into the real world. [10] This distinction is critical because AR can appeal to the smartphone and tablet industry, a market which is estimated to generate $75.8 billion in 2015. Major companies are showing interest in developing the AR market such as Apple, Google, and Facebook. [11]

Experts are anticipating the future of VR will be primarily driven by games on both consoles and mobile devices. This is due to the large consumer base coming from the mobile gaming industry encompassing over 1 billion users. The VR market is expected to be mainly used in the domain of entertainment with areas such as gaming, content streaming, and 3D filming in the short-term. These markets will likely to attract millions of users, given the overall new level of appeal and convenience offered by VR. An example would be online markets where survey results indicate that respondents were more likely to make purchases if they could try out and compare items prior to making purchases. VR goods can provide a remedy to allowing consumers to try before they buy, and it can potentially lead to an increase in the overall revenue earned from online goods. [12]

Virtual Reality in Other Industries

VR is currently developed mainly in the realm of entertainment, however it can also be utilized in various other industries to further create value for customers. Although numerous industries can see potential growth through implementing VR technology in the future, the following are a few of the more prominent markets to note.

Tourism

Tourism is a significant market which can see increased growth with the usage of VR. Serving as a big source of revenue for countries, tourism is a market that is heavily advertised for many years. An example would be Thailand, where tourism makes up 10% of their national GDP. [13] In 2013 it was recorded that there were approximately 1.087 billion tourists visiting internationally, this is an increase from 2012’s 1.03 billion tourists. With the increase in the amount of tourists opting for travel over the years, it is projected that rates will further grow in the future. Currently the most popular countries that see the greatest amount of visitors include France, USA, Spain, China, and Italy. In 2013, the amount of receipts from tourism came in at an astonishing $1.07 trillion. This shows how much revenue can be generated in the tourism market. [14]

Marriott Hotel's new Travel Brilliantly 4D experience

Companies can further advertise the tourism industry through the use of VR, which enables potential customers a glimpse of what they can expect from their travels. Whether it be a luxurious cruise in across the Caribbean, a tour of the Eiffel Tower, or resting at a five star hotel, VR gives users a more accurate representation of what to expect. By allowing customers to have a sample glimpse of their planned travel locations, they can acquire a slight feel of whether or not the trip is worth the cost. This will prove to be much more effective means of validating a travel destination as opposed to traditional means of evaluating through reviews and pictures. This ability to enable sampling various travel locations also serves as a means of advertising which can prove to be a more immersive way to appeal to customers compared to the static advertisements firms currently utilize. Through implementing VR in the tourism industry, customers will be able to make more informed and accurate decisions about where they wish to travel.

VR can also be used to allow travel to those facing constraints such responsibilities, cost, health condition, etc. With VR, virtual tours of various locations can be assessed by the general public at a lower price than the traditional method of travel. While this method lacks the actual physical experience, it is a more affordable alternative that could be of use to people who face constraints that stop them from visiting the real place. Marriott Hotels has recently released Travel Brilliantly, a machine capsule the size of a telephone booth which currently allows users to visit two places in 4D. While within this chamber, users interact with the Oculus Rift to generate a 3D experience of locations such as Hawaii or London. The booth then creates effects such as a gust of wind to provide a more immersive realistic feel. [1]

Real Estate

Real estate is a business market which has reached extreme prominence with the ever-growing population countries are facing. In the Metro Vancouver region, detached housing prices have risen to $1,026,300 CAD, a 9.7% increase from February 2014. [2] This increase in housing has caused people to move away from urban areas to pursue more affordable housing in less populated regions. [3] VR can benefit and make the buying/selling aspect of real estate much more convenient. This is done by allowing buyers and sellers to view in first person, the property which is in question. This allows for tours and details to be explained without leaving one's own home. One of the main problems which hinder buyers from purchasing and exploring different housing options is the inability to view homes through a method that accommodates to their schedule (location, time, etc.). VR remedies this by giving viewers a digital experience that provides the feel of touring the home as if the buyer was present.

The Matterport Camera and a rendering of a home

Further support for the benefits offered by VR include the high demand for products which offer a similar but less immersive 3D experience that is on the market currently. An example would be the startup Matterport. It raised 56 million dollars for a pro camera which renders 3D videos of homes. These videos are sold to realtors and the camera is claimed to have sold units in the thousands. Reports indicate the videos generated by the cameras are viewed around 1.2 million times by unique viewers each month. While the usage of current 3D technology and future VR can revolutionize the way the real estate market is structured, there exists a risk to realtors. If buyers are eventually able to view and explore homes of interest on their own through the use of VR, one of the main tasks for realtors will be eliminated. Buyers would be able to contact the sellers agents directly thus limiting the need for a second representative agent. This disintermediation of the traditional method of purchasing homes and can lead to loss of employment/business for potential realtors. While the usage of VR can relieve some agents of their work, it can also create new roles in the market which help guide and regulate the usage of VR. If VR were to become one of the methods for viewing homes, there would exist new roles that help regulate the content being placed online. An example would be authenticating the renderings of the virtual home so that it is truly representative of the content being sold. These new necessary roles can potentially create vast amount of employment opportunities which can offset the loss of real estate agents. [4]

Training Programs

Training programs can see heavy improvement and greater efficiency from trainees if the possibilities of VR are to be utilized. VR technology can allow for simulations or live streaming of procedures that are common in the various fields of employment. By having a visual representation of what they need to learn from either a first or third person view, the learning experience can greatly be enhanced as opposed to static text examples. VR is also an improvement from simply watching others teach from either in real life or in videos due to the angling which can inhibit all the major steps from being observed and taught. VR places the trainee directly in the trainers shoes and allows them to see exactly what the trainer sees, making them connect both visually and emotionally.

VR training programs have already seen development and usage in various fields such as the military and medical industry. In these fields, trainees are exposed to virtual situations of problems they might face in real life such as performing heart surgery, piloting jets, or navigating a war terrain. Industries which can see improvement in the training procedure include: [5]


The main benefits why VR is popular and can create value in these fields is due to the various benefits it offers companies which include: [1]

  • Ability to simulate a dangerous/ hard to encounter scenario in a controlled environment without harm.
  • Accurate and realistic renderings allowing the transition to real life an easy adjustment
  • Can cater to many individuals/groups over various locations
  • Interactive approach to learning (visuals and hearing aids)
  • Cost effective

Web Browsing

Janus VR Browser, an example of a VR browsing experience

VR has seen interest from web browsers who wish to implement such technology to create a more immersive browsing experience akin to watching movies and playing games. An example of how this experience could turn out can be transforming the act of navigating through a website to an experience similar to traversing a room or location. Websites can be reinvented into a format that is more visually appealing and engaging through this method.

Mozilla Firefox is among one of these companies who advocate for further exploration into the realm of VR and how the internet experience can be enhanced through it. It has been reported that Mozilla has already allowed developers access a beta version of its new browser which enables input from VR devices. This move by Mozilla hopes to establish themselves as innovators in the next generation of browsing; this stems partially from other large companies taking an interest in how VR can be used online such as Facebook’s acquisition of the Oculus Rift. [2]

Meetings/ Collaborations/ Broadcasts

Girocam, a footage streaming camera

VR can serve as a means for exchanging information in settings such as meetings and company collaborations. By utilizing VR, companies can schedule meetings virtually which can be much more convenient because it eliminates the need to travel to the meeting spot physically. This can serve to be a big improvement with meetings that require participation from individuals who are located across the world. An example of how this could be done would be utilizing mounted cameras such as the Girocam which syncs and streams content to VR devices. By using these devices, the cameras can capture footage of what is within view and routes it to VR HMD's which are making a call with the host device. This way, content from a meeting room can be broadcast to all users who are involved in a VR conference call. Another advantage of using VR for meetings would be the possibility of directing streaming what is being seen in one headset to others. This way, others connected to a host VR can see first hand what the host is seeing.

The 2015 US Opens through the view of Oculus Rift

News Broadcasts can be heavily revamped with VR to provide viewers with a more realistic view of the world around us. With VR, viewers can become part of the studio cast where the broadcast is taking place or instead be directly placed into areas where news is being recorded about. With this users can see firsthand what happens in the news such as a hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, etc. CBC has already shown interest in generating virtual broadcasts to its audience base to provide a more interactive and realistic depiction of what is happening around the world. CBC hopes to utilize this by taking 360 degree photos of their studios and pairing it up with the Oculus Rift to provide a realistic news experience. Currently NextVR and Fox News are offering a VR experience for the 2015 US Open. This is done by offering VIP tents where 100 to 300 users can wear headsets to view the tournament as if they were at the spot. [3]

Education

Education is another field which can see benefit from the usage of VR. By using devices such as the Girocam, educators can broadcast the classroom environment directly to the students. This can create a more immersive form of distance education which re-enacts the experience of attending class physically. With VR, the educator can clearly stream course content through VR headsets in order to give users a more realistic and interactive learning visual aid as opposed to reading from textbooks/notes. Other than being time convenient, it can be more cost effective when compared to the traditional classroom learning environment. An example would be using VR to enable children in elementary school to go and experience adventures such as the aquarium, space, zoo without having to pay for the leisure. VR can increase the likelihood of students seeing academic success in areas such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, which require more interactive modules due to their complexity. By giving students visuals to study from, VR can enable these STEM students to get a better feel of how to understand and apply their knowledge, something that is difficult to do with the current theory based teaching structure. [4]

Apparel

Using VR in the apparel industry has been in the talks since 2005. The traditional method includes customers directly entering a store and trying on outfits to find the right size. With the rise of internet shopping, customers are now enabled to view clothing that is on sale without leaving their homes. However, ordering/viewing clothes online does not enable customers to get a feel of how the fit will match their bodies.

VR can remedy this problem by combining the best aspects of physical and online shopping. With VR gear, customers can try on virtual clothing and see how it fits with online avatars which are representative of their real physical appearances. This way consumers can see how different outfits look on themselves prior to purchasing online. This enables them to save time traveling to stores physically to test out the apparel. Unfortunately, VR dressing rooms is still a concept of the future due to the costs associated with it. If a virtual dressing room would be created, companies would need to digitize their entire inventory of clothing, this is costly considering the vast array of products to digitize which change every season. While some major companies might be capable of supporting the costs for this, the majority of smaller ones are unable to do so.

While VR dressing rooms are still far away, an example of how AR can be applied to apparel would be Virtual Style Sense (VSS), a large display monitor which allows users to try out different colors and designs on a piece of clothing without changing out of it. [5] The VSS can serve as a starting point for a future where VR might be applied to the apparel industry. Another example of utilizing AR in the apparel industry is Ray-Ban's Virtual Mirror, which enables users to use their webcams to display footage of themselves and try on rendered glasses.

Adult Entertainment Industry

The adult entertainment industry has bloomed since the inception of the World Wide Web. Over the years the industry has seen rapid growth and widespread acclaim. According to Paul Fishbein, founder of Adult Video News, “Porn doesn’t have a demographic—it goes across all demographics.” Although adult material is relatively shunned in the public, it is a market with great potential. Globally speaking, the adult entertainment market is valued at $97 billion with $10-12 billion originating from the U.S. According to Covenant Eyes, 64-48% of young adult men and 18% of young women watch pornographic material at least once a week. Another survey revealed 93% of boys and 62% of girls had been exposed to pornography before turning 18. These statistics show how prominent the adult entertainment industry is. [6]

An example of VR being used to provide adult content (NSFW)

Porn has become such a phenomenon that by 2017, 250 million people are expected to be access it on a mobile device, a 30% increase from 2013. Mobile adult services are expected to reach $2.8 billion, subscriptions reaching excess of $1 billion, and the mobile adult video usage tripling worldwide in 2015. [1]

An example of how VR can be combined with touch sensor input devices

The adult entertainment industry is a significant market worth pursuing with VR. Currently 9/10 users access only free material. In order to generate greater revenue streams, websites can charge users a premium for immersive content via VR. By offering a unique experience, online porn sites can potentially increase subscription fees. Currently there are smaller websites which offer adult VR content such as RealOculusPorn (NSFW), however these websites are small and obscure.

VR can be incorporated into the industry by coupling immersive VR content with external sensory devices to provide a 4D experience. Sensor devices such as the Gloveone mimics various touch sensations and syncs with content used by a VR device. [2] By using touch input, users become immersed and create a connection with the content. An example is found in an Oculus Rift demo, where pressure sensors are combined with pair of fake breasts to allow VR content to mirror actions performed by users in real life. [3]

Risks and Challenges

Costs

While there are cost-friendly options such as Google Cardboard to achieve VR, the sense of immersion cannot be compared to its premium counter parts. High-end VR headsets will require a high-end PC to run its program. In order to achieve the optimal experience, the recommended specs were proposed by Oculus: [4]

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Based on this information, estimated costs could accumulate to $1,000 without the headset. Currently, the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2) has a market price of $350. [5] With taxes and additional costs, the total costs to operate the headset is estimated to be $1,500, and these price points will be similar for other high-end VR headsets. [6] The target market for Oculus and its competitors is hardcore gamers in the short-term, who will most likely have a similar desktop setup, and thus would mitigate this concern. However, with VR headsets commanding a high price point to receive the best experience, this creates a barrier to entry for the average consumer.

Sony’s Project Morpheus at the moment will only be compatible with their respective console, the PlayStation 4. This is a cheaper alternative as its video game system has a retail price of $400. [7] While it has the competitive advantage in costs, its install base is relegated to 20.2 million users as of March 2015. [8] A smaller customer base may prove difficult for Sony to convince developers to support the Morpheus in the long-term.

Businesses will also need to question if the future economic benefits of VR will outweigh the costs. Investing in VR technology can prove costly if it is not utilized correctly or if it provides little advantages. Surveys within a company should be conducted to assess the interest of integrating VR into its operations. Questionnaires for customers should be created to understand the interest of VR from a consumers perspective if the company plans on using VR in its services (real estate, tourism, etc.). A cost-benefit analysis of its current operations should be performed and evaluated if VR can improve the products/services it provide to consumers.

Equipment

Other VR headsets in development
Due to its infancy, no organization has a monopoly in the market, and thus there is no standardized equipment for consumers to select from. In addition to the headsets already noted, there are currently over 25 other VR headsets in development. [9]

While multiple companies creating its own products encourage competition and benefit the end consumer, each VR headset will have its own respective specs. Depending on which VR headset a consumer selects, they may experience a entirely different experience from a consumer that opts to choose another VR headset. Lower-end VR headsets may turn away first-time users, and the number of different products available may alienate users.

Ergonomics

A fundamental feature of high-end VR headsets is its ability to create an experience where the technology and the physical surrounding environment disappear from the user’s awareness. To be immersed for long periods of time, it requires a VR headset to be ergonomic. Comfort and form factor is a large concern for consumers, as discomfort can disrupt the immersive experience. [10] Premium VR headsets are addressing the issue by allowing for customizable options to fit the consumers needs, such as adjustment of the straps, different lenses for users that require prescription glasses, and the ability to change the range of the HMD.

Amount of Content

The content available will be a critical factor to the initial launch of high-end VR headsets. Consumers will need the software to justify a deep investment. Senior Analyst Mykola Goovko at Euromonitor International states the adaptation of multi-platform games to be compatible with a VR headset will not convince the regular consumer to switch from TV-based gaming. It needs content specifically built with virtual reality in mind in order to make a compelling proposition to their customers. Without a supporting catalogue of quality titles, virtual reality will be perceived as a gimmick, or develop a niche market such as 3D television. Consumers will not stay engaged, and eventually lose interest in VR headsets. [11]

On the contrary, Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games states similar to any new product, its going to be rocky start. Sweeney believe people are going to ship products that will not live up to consumer standards. However, since there is much momentum, anticipation, and expectation, VR is inevitable to catch on to the mainstream audience. [12]

Motion Sickness

Usage of VR headsets can lead to motion sickness, nausea, and dizziness caused by constant movement in a virtual environment. If motion tracking does not register perfectly or as quickly as needed to sudden head movements, the user may feel the symptoms noted above.

Douglas Maxwell, the science and technology manager of the U.S. Army Training and Simulation Technology Center believes upcoming commercial VR headsets are too risky to test on American soldiers. Maxwell states, “If one of these devices makes me or my staff sick, there is no chance that I will put it in front of a solider.” The U.S. Army currently employs an unspecified virtual reality gear, which has an estimated price tag of $8,000 to $12,000 per unit. [13]

To address the growing concerns, Oculus opted to extend development time on the Rift to minimize the concerns of motion sickness. Chief Technology Officer of Oculus, John Carmack states “People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up. The fear is if a really bad VR product comes out, it could send the industry back to the ’90s”. [14] Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe states that while he is excited the industry is moving forward, he is concerned of rival competitors not shipping a product that is not quite ready. Oculus and Sony have been collaborating together to ensure their VR headsets will be ready for commercial release. Iribe had invited Sony executives to try out the Rift to match its level of quality. [15]

President and co-founder of Valve, Gabe Newell shared the same sentiments as Carmack and Iribe, describing most VR headset demonstrations as “the world’s best motion sickness inducers.” Mr. Newell believes his headset, the HTC Vive has eliminated motion sickness, going as far as confirming that no one will experience negative side effects using their system. [16]

Desensitization

Desensitization is the diminishmed emotional response to a negative stimulus after repeated exposure to the action. The user becomes unaffected from extreme behavior such as violence and as a result, lack any sign of compassion. This stems from soldiers practicing combat procedures in an environment knowing they are not dealing with real human beings, and they continue with the same thought-process in a real battlefield. While it can make soldiers more effective, it can lead to post-symptom mental illnesses.

By integrating violence in a virtual environment, it may suggest such simulations are purposely brainwashing users into believing there is little to no consequences when hurting another individual in a virtual environment. Due to the lack of commercial products, little attention has been brought to this issue. Violence will be an on-going controversy as development of virtual reality improves, and it may follow under the same scrutiny similar to the introduction of comic books, the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, and violent video games.

Virtual Reality Addiction

Critics are concerned users will suffer from virtual reality addiction, the excessive engagement of VR to a point where it begins to disrupt an individual’s daily activities. Similar to video game addiction, users begin to spend more time in an environment separate from reality, and show increase signs of distancing themselves from real life responsibilities.

Artist's depiction of virtual reality addiction

As VR technology continues to improve, a hyperbolic situation can occur where people may select to replace their current reality with a better reality in the virtual world. Jim Blascovich, a psychology profession at the University of California, and Jeremy Bailensen, director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Reaction Lab, together studied the implications of a VR-oriented future in their book, An Infinite Reality. They found as the costs of entering a virtual environment decreases over time, more people will be willing to invest the majority of their time in a virtual reality. [17]

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and sense of belonging are after safety and physiological needs. Users can
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
fill this void with the possibility of VR. It has the potential to connect with other humans around the world like no other social platform available. The Internet has shown people can easily satisfy the social needs through websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Engagement in VR can push the boundaries of social platforms such as emulating personalized avatars and the ability of input devices to create immersive interactions with others across the globe.

Standford University’s psychiatrist, Elias Aboujaude believes current social media platforms and the Internet has evolved how people socialize with one another. [18] An increasing reliance on technology to communicate with peers has changed how an individual satisfy their social needs, and as a result people need fewer real life interactions. With the introduction of VR to the mass, it can amplify problems of social isolation, yet at the same time also connect with others on a larger platform.

References

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  1. Emma Jacobs. (2015, June 24). Porn's new marketing tactic. Retrieved from: FT Wealth http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7bce6750-1408-11e5-9bc5-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3fpiNLpwG [Accessed: July 25, 2015]
  2. Anu Passary. (2015, June 9). Gloveone Smart Gloves Will Let You Feel Virtual Reality. Retrieved from: Tech Times http://www.techtimes.com/articles/59002/20150609/smart-gloves-by-gloveone-will-let-you-feel-virtual-reality.htm [Accessed: July 25, 2015]
  3. Jon Anderson. (2015, July) The Virtual Reality Gold Rush - Oculus Rift Boobs Simulator (ORBS). Retrieved from: Vimeo https://vimeo.com/130439900 [Accessed: July 26, 2015]
  4. Oculus. (2015, May 15). The Rift’s Recommended Spec, PC SDK 0.6 Released, and Mobile VR Jam Voting. Retrieved from Oculus: https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/the-rifts-recommended-spec-pc-sdk-0-6-released-and-mobile-vr-jam-voting/ [Accessed: July 12, 2015]
  5. Oculus. (2015). Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 Order Page. Retrieved from Oculus: https://www1.oculus.com/order/ [Accessed: July 13, 2015]
  6. Hudak, M. (2015, June 5). Virtual Reality’s Next Leap – The Oculus Rift Launch. Retrieved from Euromonitor International: http://www.portal.euromonitor.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/portal/analysis/tab [Accessed: July 9, 2015]
  7. Sony. (2015). Buy Your PS4 Today. Retrieved from Sony: https://www.playstation.com/en-za/explore/ps4/buy-ps4/ [Accessed: July 13, 2015]
  8. Kain, E. (2015, March 4). With 20.2 Million PS4's Sold, Sony Is Winning Because Of Microsoft's Mistakes. Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2015/03/04/with-20-2-million-ps4s-sold-sony-is-winning-because-of-microsofts-mistakes/ [Accessed: July 14, 2015]
  9. Marco, J. (2015, March 19). List of All Virtual Reality Headsets Under Development. Retrieved from Virtual Reality Times: http://www.virtualrealitytimes.com/2015/03/19/list-of-all-virtual-reality-headsets-under-development/ [Accessed: July 10, 2015]
  10. Nield, D. (2015, June 15). How Oculus Rift works: Everything you need to know about the VR sensation. Retrieved from Virtual Wareable: http://www.wareable.com/oculus-rift/how-oculus-rift-works [Accessed: July 11, 2015]
  11. Gooyko, M. (2015, March 6). Third Party Developer Caution to Make Sony, Valve, and Microsoft Virtual Reality Leaders. Retrieved from Euromonitor International: http://www.portal.euromonitor.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/portal/analysis/tab [Accessed: July 9, 2015]
  12. Conditt, J. (2015, February 19). Epic Games head believes VR will 'change the world'. Retrieved from Engadget: hhttp://www.engadget.com/2015/02/19/virtual-reality-2015-tim-sweeney/ [Accessed: July 12, 2015]
  13. Korolov, M. (2014, October 1). The Real Risks of Virtual Reality. Retrieved from Risk Management Magazine: http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/19/virtual-reality-2015-tim-sweeney/ [Accessed: July 7, 2015]
  14. Wingfield, N. (2015, March 4). To Bring Virtual Reality to Market, Furious Efforts to Solve Nausea. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/technology/solution-to-nausea-puts-virtual-reality-closer-to-market.html?_r=1 [Accessed: July 3, 2015]
  15. Kuchera, B. & Crecente, B. (2015, June 18). Sony and Oculus share notes on making virtual reality mainstream. Retrieved from Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/e3-2015/2015/6/18/8808495/project-morpheus-oculus-sony-virtual-reality [Accessed: July 5, 2015]
  16. McCormick, R. (2015, March 5). Valve boss Gabe Newell says 'zero percent of people' get nauseous using the Vive VR headset. Retrieved from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/5/8153101/valve-boss-gabe-newell-says-noone-gets-sick-using-vive-vr [Accessed: July 4, 2015]
  17. Tierney, J. (2011, April 11). 3-D Avatars Could Put You in Two Places at Once. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/science/12tier.html [Accessed: July 15, 2015]
  18. Kim, M. (2015, February 18). The Good and the Bad of Escaping to Virtual Reality. Retrieved from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/the-good-and-the-bad-of-escaping-to-virtual-reality/385134/ [Accessed: July 16, 2015]
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