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 OTHER VR FEATURE

GDC 2016: Jesse Schell predicts what VR will look like in 2026

What does the future have in store for VR?
 
As part of GDC 2016’s extensive range of dedicated Virtual Reality talks, most were focused on the here and now.

This is to be expected given that not only is VR relatively new to the industry, but also because a lot of developers are trying to learn how to best utilise VR technology.

However, within all these talks there was one man who wasn’t there to talk about the current state of VR.

That man is Jesse Schell, a distinguished Professor who has spent most of his life researching and working with Virtual Reality.

He’s also the developer behind the upcoming VR puzzle title I Expect You To Die, a game I had a chance to play after meeting with Schell at GDC, and was very impressed with.


Image courtesy of @JesseSchell

As such Schell is extremely well placed to look at the long term future for Virtual Reality. In fact, he’s been doing it for most of his career.

So, given that VR will officially be released to the mass market this year, how does he see the technology advancing in the next ten years?

Well, as part of his talk at GDC, he made the following 40 predictions for what VR and AR will look like in 2026. All of which make for some very interesting reading.

Market

01 - Starting in 2016 VR headsets will be in the consumer market permanently.

02 - By the end of 2017, eight million gamer headsets will be sold.


Slideshow image courtesy of Jesse Schell via SlideShare

03 - In general, there will be four mobile headsets for each gamer.

04 - Headset sales will double each year until saturation is reached.


Slideshow image courtesy of Jesse Schell via SlideShare

05 - 50 different headsets will be featured at CES 2017.

06 - As soon as Sony sells 10 million headsets, Microsoft will announce one for Xbox One (probably E3 2018).

07 - By 2022, the majority of VR revenue will be spent on Portable, self-contained VR systems that are not phones.

Games

08 - An asymmetric party game will be a top ten VR game by end of 2017.

09 - Madden 2018 will have a VR edition.

10 - By the end of 2018, a major new VR-centric game genre will appear.

Fears

11 - By the end of 2017, he media will blame at least one mass shooting on a VR game.

12 - By the end of 2017, news stories about “VR addiction” will be frequent.

13 - By the end of 2018 there will be at least 3 movies playing on the fears of VR. People will be afraid of it.

Film Making

14 - By 2025, VR home movies will be our most treasured possessions.

15 - Documentaries will be the first VR films to win major awards.

This is because documentaries look to put you inside the event, and this can be very powerful once the experience is delivered through VR.

16 - By 2020, VR porn will be a $1 Billion industry worldwide.

17 - By 2020, there will be at least ten virtual reality reality shows.

18 - The Divine comedy will provide a model for successful VR storytelling.

This is because within The Divine Comedy the main character doesn’t travel alone, but rather has a guide in Virgil.

As such, the idea of having another person both guide you through the experience, and consequently help frame the story, is argued by Schell to be vital tool fro storytelling within VR.

19 - By the end of 2018, Comcast will have a VR channel.

20 - For feature films to work in VR, they will need to be social. This will be figured out by 2025.

Social

21 - By 2025, the majority of VR revenue will be from social experience. School argues this is no different to how it has always been within the gaming industry.

22 - By 2018, one of the top 10 VR games will be a dance game.

23 - By 2025, VR/AR boardgames that allow people to play together online will be a $100m business.

24 - By the end of 2020, at least one VR MMO will have more than one million subscribers.

This is in opposition to free to play MMOs which Schell argues don’t work in VR as they pull you out of the immersive experience that VR is.

25 - By the end of 2018, there will be a leading VR social platform, and it won’t be one of the old guard.

26 - By 2018, VR emotes will be very popular, and will have a stupid name.

Location Based Entertainment

27 - By 2017, every US state fair will have a VR attraction.

28 - By 2020 there will be at least 20 VR coasters worldwide. Interestingly, this one has actually already come true, with there currently being 24 VR coasters in existence.

29 - By 2025 bowling with AR glasses will be a thing. The bowling will be real, but what is going on around you will be displayed through augmented reality.

Augmented Reality

30 - By 2025, the AR market will be dominated by “video AR” systems similar to the Vrvana Totem and Google Tango.

31 - AR experiences synced with your TV will be a thing.

32 - Augmented Reality lectures will be popular. by 2025, and will be a very powerful tool for teaching.

33 - By 2025, chasing phantoms in your house will be mainly for children only.

Technology

34 - By 2018, games will wear narrow glasses or contact lenses so that they are better compatible with VR headsets. As such fashion will change due to the influence of VR.

35 - By 2020, really hardcore gamers will have prescription lenses for their VR headsets.

36 - By 2018, eye tracking VR headsets will be available.

37 - By 2020, foveate rendering will exist. By 2025, it will be useful.

38 - By 2025, There will be no more corded VR systems.

Touch

39 - By 2020, trackable props for VR and AR will be common.

Robots

40 - By 2025 robots will touch you in VR, and you’ll like it.



Slideshow image courtesy of Jesse Schell via SlideShare

All in all, whilst some of these may be daring, most are in fact very believable.

VR is set to be one of the most exciting pieces of technology the mass market has seen for a long time, and it’s quite hard to argue with many of these predictions.

In fact, it’s impossible to argue with one, given that prediction 28 has already come true.

Nevertheless, what do you think? How many of these do you think will come true? Why not give us some of your predictions in the comments section below.
 

Reviewer photo
Simon Drake 23 March 2016
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