Virtual Reality is the next big thing which games developers are becoming increasingly interested in; The Void seems to be a step in the right direction. These aren’t VR peripherals like the Oculus Rift or Sony’s Project Morpheus, The Void is a concept of using physical space in a centre where a virtual world will form. There are two supposed ways to experience The Void: a gaming-pod where the room and structure around you will become virtually animated, or upgraded motion simulators which combines the VR with old-school arcade simulators. Currently, only one centre is set up in Salt Lake City (Utah), yet the company ambitiously hope to make The Void become a common day-time activity by rolling out centres in cities of Europe, North/South America, Australia, Asia and most probably even more!
Our 90’s self will scoff at the idea of using full-body VR equipment again. Tech companies in the past have experimented with full-body VR control and failed; yet modern technology can now make something which was once laughed upon, a triumphant success. A curved 1080p OLED head mounted display equipped with speakers, a microphone and impressive head tracking sensors alongside a vest, gloves (with haptic feedback) and a laptop-backpack to power the visual display is all that’s acquired. Essentially the plan is that these centres would provide the equipment at a rental price, and customers can then explore these simulated worlds as a new activity – a 2015 laser-tag if you will.
Realism is one of the main goals in this project. The beautiful display, close-ear sound and the haptic feedback when colliding with objects will attempt to appeal a few of our senses to create a realistic feel to the playing field. Even some objects are promised to be interactive so that the world around you will feel like a genuine location. These promises will overcome the division of being a player and being in the game, but of course the early technology is still limitative.
Yet the concept neglects one of the main ideas why we play video games – convenience. Whilst many still venture out to play activities such as paint-balling or laser-tag, we’re promised a virtual reality future for our consoles anyway; how many of us will actually travel out to play a slightly more realistic VR game? The commercial use of it makes sense, as it would be hard to develop this type of VR arenas in someones living environment. Of course the tech has to be carefully catered for the physical space in the arena, so there’s no hope that The Vision would enter our households anytime soon. Yet it is still an interesting concept, and if conducted right, people may actually consider travelling a distance to play these VR arenas.
Why play a game when you can live it?
The Void is an interesting concept, and I can only imagine as the years progress during its international roll out, the technology can only improve. To “live it” may be an exaggeration for now, but imagine in a decade how much the technology itself could improve. Imagine where almost every object is interactive, where there are bigger arenas to roam. Imagine missions being set out similar to RPGs or other genres. It may not exactly redefine gaming, yet it could implement a new option for us.