After close to two decades spent in the dark and damp basement where failed entertainment devices go to die — virtual reality has finally returned to the spotlight.

VR has been refreshed by the continuous evolution of sensors, screens, and computer processing power.

Back in the day, the virtual world was blocky, choppy and could easily make you sick to your stomach.

Today VR can be completely lifelike and impressively immersive.

atari-vr

We have come a long way since the old Atari days.

VR is expected to have a myriad of applications, from education to engineering, yet it is expected to have the biggest impact on the world of entertainment.

At least initially…

In a world where virtual worlds (like Project Sansar) are being built and even Red Flush online casino games are prepared to go virtual, can we expect the new technology to replace the traditional game room in the near future?

The Possibilities are Endless

I recently set up a HTC Vive in my game room. Initial setup was not as easy as buying a new arcade game or gaming system — as it is PC based. There was an hour or two of frustration…but I was eventually able to work through it.

Once I did, I experienced something that feels real and instantly made multiple million-dollar adventures at places like Universal Studios feel dated.

A good Vive gaming experience blows away the new King Kong ride…no joke.

This is the biggest “wow this is something new” moment for me in gaming since the Wii probably.

What is crazy about the Vive is that it basically is like Wii 2.0 mixed with virtual reality. When you play these games you are very much in the middle of them — you are moving arms, legs, crouching, spinning around…it is all pretty nuts.

Don’t trip on those cables people!

vive-inaction

VR Goes Into the Public Arcade Gaming Space

VR is also going into commercial game rooms already.

IMAX has a VR arcade in Los Angeles (and now New York!) that looks pretty cool. There are several others around the world.

Last year, Microgaming, a software developer that, among others, provides the Red Flush with its games, has showcased its “virtual roulette” at a major international trade show.

The game — that will sooner or later be rolled out at the Red Flush Casino and beyond took players inside an immersive and completely customizable environment where they could play roulette as if they were standing at an actual roulette table at a Las Vegas casino.

They could interact with the roulette chips using their hands (thanks to a Leap Motion controller) taking the illusion to the next level.

With VR, the possibilities are pretty crazy…

Not that far down the road the graphics will be so good you cannot tell if it is real or not. What happens then?

Maybe we already are living in a VR world?

Think of how many classic games — pinball machines and arcade games could you cram inside a virtual game room?

In fact there are already virtual arcade simulations you can play on the Vive or Oculus Rift.

It’s no longer a question of technology — the time has come.

augmented-reality

Do We Still Need Bigscreens?

VR’s little brother, Augmented Reality, could even make the screen as we know it become obsolete.

Who needs a large-screen TV mounted on a wall when you can put on a pair of glasses that project a giant screen onto your eyeballs?

Besides, AR is not fully immersive, mixing the illusion of the digital world with the real one around you — so you won’t have to fumble around blindly when reaching out for a cold beer.

A big advantage for beer and safety lovers everywhere.

In Conclusion

VR and AR will most likely fundamentally change the way we look at our game rooms and man lairs in the future. And this future may come sooner than we can imagine. I think it is already here for those willing to brave the waters.

The only major negatives are the cables (wireless rigs are already invented) and the requirement of a powerful PC (eventually your smartphone will be powerful enough).

These are just temporary speed bumps…

Next Up

Coming soon we will focus on a Vive review and cover some of the best games.

There are enough mind blowing games that those with cash and gameroom space are going to want to enter the VR Matrix…