The incredible accessibility of VR

It wasn’t so long ago that the concept of VR was completely alien. Firstly, it was an entirely foreign technology where much about it remained unknown and undiscovered. And then there was the fact that its content niche seemed destined to focus on transporting humans through space to other worlds.

But we have come a long way since the virtual spaceship became an arcade sensation, both in terms of advancing the VR tech and improving its accessibility, and expanding the scope of the content.

Quite often in the tech sector, a new product will emerge on the scene in a bulky, awkward form that makes trying it, buying it and using it something of a challenge. After all, installing that arcade spaceship in the living room would have been excessive, even for the biggest fans of early-stage virtual reality.

But, as time passes, technologists and designers work tirelessly to compete for the prize of having the smallest piece of hardware containing the biggest software. And that’s exactly what happened with VR. It fast became apparent that the experience really only needed to be a visual one, negating the box, its seats, and even the space between the user and the screen – simply put the experience right before the user’s eyes. And thus, the virtual reality headset was born.

Innovation costs money, however, and so the newborn VR technology launched to market with an eye-widening price tag. At this stage owning a VR headset simply wasn’t viable for the average person. Museums, exhibitions, events, and amusement arcades, on the other hand, could justify investing in the latest VR gadget if they could make their money back. So, back to the arcade we went.

Of course, great tech isn’t developed through a single innovation, and the technologists and designers did not rest once the VR headset was created. The product’s evolution continued to redefine the software and rethink the hardware, leading us to the kind of products currently on the market.

Today, powerful software delivers crystal-clear visuals of stunning 3D-modelled creations, and the only hardware required is your smartphone and an affordable pair of VR goggles. By migrating the software to run through the powerful device already sitting in your back pocket, VR has become accessible to a degree that would have once been unimaginable.

Lithodomos VR’s content (focused on real places and people from ancient history) is available on all major VR platforms and stores including the App Store, Google Play, Oculus, Steam, and Viveport, and viewed through popular VR headsets, including Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

For Lithodomos VR, this translates to unlimited global distribution and community engagement. Our clients include tour operators, museums, and educators from all over the world, spanning Europe, Asia, America, and Australia. And because of the content’s incredible accessibility, our consumer base also includes stand-alone customers simply looking to explore our ancient VR world from their bedroom, desk, or even on-site at the historical experience’s modern-day location.

Of course, the progress of VR technology continues apace, with many saying its true potential has yet to be tapped. The entertainment industry has ventured into 3D content, but full VR movies may not be far away. And the travel industry will be paying close attention – after all, if I can experience distant lands completely immersively from home, why would I bother with a 12-hour flight? Conversely, that’s why our own work in recreating the past is a boon for tour operators keen to add another intriguing layer to the visitor experience.

Training is also an area of exciting potential, with everyone from mechanics to surgeons being able to ‘step into’ a believable recreation of a breakdown or medical crisis and more effectively learn how to deal with them.

From the iconic arcade box to the Google Cardboard box, we have certainly come a long way in making VR content accessible. The question now is, just how small will VR become as it continues to expand into new applications, industries and markets?