What's New For VR In 2018? - Dispatch Weekly

January 25, 2018 - Reading time: 4 minutes

  Having discussed digital trends for 2018, we’re going to devote this article to trends within a specific aspect of modern tech: virtual reality. VR has been big news for a few years now, but we’re probably not out of the initial surge of development just yet. The business of virtual reality is still shaping itself, and that means we’re going to see plenty of new and updated things over the course of this year. These are some of the things we have to look forward to.

Updated Headsets

Now that headsets have been around for a little while, we seem to be dipping our toes into a sort of second generation. Or at least that’s what some trends indicate. The most noteworthy news in this regard comes from HTC, which is introducing the Vive PRO upgrade, essentially one-upping the HTC Vive (which was already considered by many to be the best headset on the market). This sort of progress has largely escaped our speculation before, but really it makes perfect sense. At the end of the day, these headsets are essentially gaming consoles, and just like major consoles, they’ll be upgraded from time to time.

Brand New Headsets

While some headsets are being upgraded, others will be introduced for the first time. This doesn’t seem necessary upon first thought, because we already have a pretty broad spectrum of devices with different capabilities and different prices. The last step, however, may have been introduced by Lenovo, which is putting out one of the first headsets that will work entirely independent of an outside PC or system. It’s actually just one of a few new VR headsets coming out in 2018, but it’s probably the most exciting.

Eye Tracking

There was an interesting article coming out of CES 2018 that looked at some developments in VR tech that aren’t simply new or upgraded headsets. One such development was Tobii Eye Tracking. Some of the biggest companies in tech (and by extension VR) have purchased eye-tracking companies over the last year, in a clear move to upgrade their VR tech. Basically, a headset with good eye-tracking can tell where your eyes are looking – not just where you turn your head. Tobii is perhaps the best name in this technology yet and has yet to be purchased by a tech giant, however – though the company itself does modify HTC Vive devices with its own tracking.

Casino Integration

It’s been noted here and there on the internet that casinos are next up in VR (or vice versa), and it’s easy to see why. Internet gaming in this specific but popular genre has relied on better tech and more advanced methods to continue growing year in and year out. But they’ve always stayed very independently tech-based. A piece on the best sites for this type of gaming made an interesting point that a real casino floor has atmosphere, energy, and the occasional lurker – pointing out the good and the bad of the real world experience. What developers have surely already realized is that with VR, they could imitate that atmosphere and energy and get rid of the “lurker” and other negative aspects. Once the concept is perfected, it will grow quickly, and it could happen in 2018.

Spooky Games

At the end of the day we still have to talk about games, and in this area, there’s plenty of exciting new stuff coming forth in 2018. It’s becoming clear however, looking at upcoming games, that there’s a focus on spookiness in VR gaming. This makes a great deal of sense given that the main thing differentiating VR from ordinary gaming is a more immersive sense of atmosphere, and it’s scary games that can perhaps benefit most. Now we’re seeing that developers agree, and seem to be largely focused on creating unsettling or downright scary games. From shooters like Blunt Force to playable horror scenes like Allison Road, this type of game is going to be thriving as we move forward.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.