11 Common Misconceptions About Virtual Reality
Misconceptions about Virtual Reality: this is a very interesting topic to me. I’ve been working with VR for some time now (2+years), and I feel comfortable to say this tech is here to stay. Let’s take a look at what I believe to be some of the biggest misconceptions about Virtual Reality.
Misconceptions about Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is for gamers and geeks
This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, misconceptions about Virtual Reality. I must say I disagree with this entirely. I see and hear this all the time, and it’s simply not true. Yes, game is the one place where we saw VR first, but isn’t it game the one media always willing to try new stuff? It’s a technology that gamers and geeks have rapidly embraced, but it’s also within industries of all kinds.
Healthcare, energy, education are just a few places where Virtual Reality is and will bring a great ROI. Personally, I see more devices in the offices than in the living rooms. There’s great usage in the home, but it’s in the office that Virtual Reality has the most value and potential.
Virtual Reality is a brand-new technology
“New” is really a big word here. Virtual Reality is not new. In fact, it’s been out there for over 30 years. Virtual Reality was introduced into the world in the early 80’s. At the time, hardware and software where pretty bulky and expensive. Now, Virtual Reality hardware and software have evolved a great deal and have many benefits. Also, even if it wasn’t making the news, many people were using VR. Army and universities have been developing and studying the effects of Virtual Reality for all those years.
Virtual Reality content is expensive to make
One of the great misconceptions about Virtual Reality. Yes, I’ll give you that, a Virtual Reality experience comes with its price tag. Developing a Virtual Reality experience demands a well thought process. Storytelling, narrative, design of 3D objects, etc. Level creation can take time to put together, sometimes even years. But like with anything, there’s different products and different prices.
There’s also good news. There’s options to help brands deliver a compelling story to Virtual Reality users. We recently wrote a great INFOGRAPHIC about The Cost of Virtual Reality, you might want to read it. It shows in details options at our disposal today.
Virtual Reality is all about 360-degree videos
Yeah, for some people that’s all there is. But think again! 360-degree videos are just a piece of a Virtual Reality one could experience. Virtual Reality narrative and storytelling can include, yes, 360-degree videos, but also computer-generated graphics, custom sound tracks, menus, and visual effects like in video games or movies. An experience can include all or only some of those elements. And each time, the results will be something totally different.
On the other hand, cinematic Virtual Reality can be only 360-degree videos. Though, for me that’s like filming movies, but using 360-camera rigs instead of regular cameras. But even if it’s true that the result is a story unfolding like a movie. Differently from a regular movie, it will put you in the center of the play and you’ll be part of the action.
Virtual Reality looks like reality
This is another big misconception. Virtual Reality itself is not like reality. In-fact, it’s often a combination of both digital and real-world elements. Picture this, you’re sitting by a beach admiring the ocean on your right. Kids and their families are together building sand castles on your left. And you’re just enjoying your day under the sun. Nice scenery, right?
Now, let’s look at it from a computer-generated point of view. You could replicate this scene with computer-generated content. And you could use a completely imaginative narrative coupled with 2D and/or 3D objects. The story unfolds before your eyes, keeping users engage and alert with 2D videos and photos, for example. This is more cartoonish, as some have said, while keeping others highly engaged. But this is not like reality.
Virtual Reality will make you nauseous
This is not entirely true. This was a known problem that many have already corrected. However, this is one misconceptions about Virtual Reality that really resisted time. Yes, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might get some users nauseous or even sick. But things have evolved a lot since the 80’s. Developers are now very good at creating experiences that are safe for people of all ages and mobilities. Better frame rates, better object design, better performance. These are some of the technical elements that make VR far different from the 80’s. For example, Epionia is doing a great job with its Therapeutic VR platform for seniors. They reported no nausea or vertigo in the 100’s of seniors they’ve worked with so far.
Virtual Reality discourages physical activity
Yes, some experiences are more static than others. However, there are some for everyone and for all level of activities. For example, some of the simulations at Didjet are exact replicas of day-to-day work activities, such as learning to handle an oil spill. This one demands only medium physical activity. Yet, another experience can be a 30-minute session into a training simulation, with your hands moving and interacting constantly with the environment. This certainly feels like it’s been an hour at the gym. And yet, other experiences can simply be discovering places.
Virtual Reality gear is uncomfortable to wear
I can only talk from our experience at Didjet. We use Virtual Reality gears daily for various reasons. Let’s dig into some of our findings. We use the Gear VR (Mobile Virtual Reality) with seniors and other medical patients, and have found that the gear, right out of the box, fits nicely on most people. Of course, it can be intimidating at first. But if you take the time to adjust the headset properly (it just takes a second), then you’ll see that it’s comfortable. Based on 100’s of patients of all ages and mobilities we’ve worked with in the past year alone, barely none have reported the gear being too uncomfortable to proceed. We’ve also been using the HTC Vive (Room Scale Virtual Reality) in various scenarios. And out of 100’s of people, no one has ever reported the gear has being uncomfortable.
Virtual Reality is a fade or gimmick
With a wide range of possible applications in industries such as medicine, manufacturing, robotics, and education, it looks like this technology is here to stay. Today, we use Virtual Reality to create life scale 3D objects such as hearts, cars or any other objects hard or expensive to produce. This makes Virtual Reality a great prototyping tool. Virtual Reality can allow users to achieve hazardous task repeatedly and safely. This makes it a great training tool. Industries such as travel and real estate are also using Virtual Reality. It enables them to provide travelers and buyers with hard to describe tours of city/country/ocean or downtown properties. I can go on and on with examples of great use of Virtual Reality. With that alone, I think it’s clear we’ll be using Virtual Reality for years to come. And I’m sure, we’ll use it for things we haven’t even think possible yet.
Virtual Reality isolates you from others
Just because you must put on a headset (and headphones), a lot of people think you become isolated. That’s not true. There are multiple experiences that already exists where you may interact with other people. There are a lot of work place usage where you will interact with people on the other side of the world exactly has if they were next to you. From an outside perspective, yes Virtual Reality can seem isolating. But in fact, it’s isolating as much as you want it to be.
Virtual Reality can become addictive
Well ok now, addictive? This is the ultimate misconceptions about Virtual Reality I’ve heard. There’s a difference between addicting and engaging. Virtual Reality offers highly engaging immersive experiences, that might contribute to you forgetting all about time. These experiences are design to replicate situations that need precision and all your attention. They can also last much longer than a few minutes. But, I would not say they’re addicting.