Virtual reality is being hyped as the next big tech craze, with a number of companies rolling out high-end hardware this year. Want to get up on stage at a heavy metal concert? Shadow an NBA star during his daily workout? Explore an underground cave? Go to space?
Most people are pretty resigned to the fact that they won’t be head-banging with Megadeth, dribbling with LeBron, taking up professional spelunking or donning a spacesuit anytime soon. But these out-of-this-world tableaux don’t have to be totally out of reach for the average Joe.
“Virtual reality allows you to have really intense experiences that most people won’t be able to have in real life. It blows the roof off of everything that’s on the market currently, says Mark Cheben, global marketing manager at EON Reality, a software company based in Irvine, CA. His company was part of a team that put together the Megadeth VR experience, allowing fans to immerse themselves into a five-song concert from the thrash metal band’s latest album.
According to market forecaster Digi-Capital, revenue for virtual and augmented reality could be as high as $120 billion by 2020. Tech companies are certainly banking on its growth: Just two months into 2016, investment into VR and AR technology had already reached $1.1 bilion, Digi-Capital reports. It’s the first time such funding has topped a billion dollars in one year.
Indeed, this is the year early adopters have been eagerly awaiting shipment of their Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Playstation VR headsets – three of the big-name players in the virtual reality sphere. But for consumers unwilling to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a headset, even a smartphone hooked up to a cardboard viewer (similar to the one used in the Megadeth product can become a window into the virtual world)
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