Virtual reality 2019: top trends for the VR market

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Adriana Gil
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Summary

  • Virtual reality 2019: the revolution of autonomous VR headsets
  • Virtual reality 2019: the PSVR will always offer the best exclusive games
  • Virtual reality 2019: finally a “killer app”?
  • Virtual reality 2019: Eye Tracking, a major new feature of VR headsets
  • Virtual reality 2019: VR cuts the cord
  • Virtual reality 2019: Oculus and HTC dethroned in the PC VR market?
  • Virtual reality 2019: ever more location-based VR

In 2018, the VR market was marked by the arrival of autonomous VR headsets such as the Oculus Go, by the domination of the PSVR, or by the abandonment of domestic VR in favor of experiences intended for arcades. and other dedicated establishments. Let's see now the trends on the horizon for 2019.



Virtual reality 2019: the revolution of autonomous VR headsets

In Spring 2019, Facebook will launch its Oculus Quest standalone VR headset. Like the Oculus Go, this device will include all the components necessary for its operation and can therefore function without being connected to a PC or a smartphone. However, its performance will be closer to that of an Oculus Rift with in particular a Room Scale 6DOF tracking system. The helmet will therefore not only be able to follow the rotational and tilting movements of the head, but also the forward, backward, up and down movements.

Ce room-scale tracking is based on an ”inside-out” system, that is to say that the helmet will carry integrated cameras capable of detecting the position and movements of the wearer. This is a clear improvement over the Rift whose tracking relies on external infrared sensors. Additionally, like the Rift, the Quest will come with dual motion-sensing controllers. We will also find many games already available on the Rift.



Of course, with a simple Snapdragon 835 processor, the Quest will not be able to match the performance offered by a PC equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card and a state-of-the-art Intel processor. However, it will be offered at the same price of 400 dollars as the Rift, which also requires a PC to operate. In fact, this new device has the potential to attract many more consumers than the Rift which is intended mainly for gamers. Himself, the Quest could start the democratization of VR.

Virtual reality 2019: the PSVR will always offer the best exclusive games

The PSVR is far from the most advanced headset on the market in terms of performance and technical characteristics. However, in 2018, this device dominated the market in terms of copies sold. This success is linked to two main factors. First of all, instead of a PC like the Rift or the HTC Vive, this headset only requires a PlayStation 4 to function. In fact, Sony can count on more than 100 million potential users.

In addition, the PlayStation VR is distinguished by an excellent catalog of games filled with high quality exclusives. We can notably mention Tetris Effect, Borderlands 2 VR, Resident Evil 7, or even Astro Bot: Rescue Bot which is considered by many to be the best VR game across all platforms.

In 2019, this catalog will continue to expand with new exclusives. Indeed, more than 50 games are currently in development for the PSVR. Among the most anticipated exclusives, we can cite Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Everybody's Golf and Dreams.


Virtual reality 2019: finally a “killer app”?

Most game consoles and other electronic devices owe their success to one particularly interesting application. For example, if the Nintendo Switch is so popular, it is in large part thanks to Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild. In the case of virtual reality headsets, however, no experience has really managed to position itself as a Killer App so far.


Some VR games are doing well, like where , but none have met with enough success to justify the purchase of a helmet on their own. For 2019, several promising games are expected. We can notably mention the game Stormland, developed by Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank, Spyro, Spider-Man…), which challenges the player to explore procedurally generated islands by decimating robots to improve their own skills. It is possible that this game offered exclusively on Oculus Rift finally fulfills the role of ambassador for the Facebook headset.

Virtual reality 2019: Eye Tracking, a major new feature of VR headsets

In 2019, we can expect a lot of new VR headsets to come with eye tracking features. The Eye Tracking notably improves graphics performance thanks to the foveal rendering technique which mimics the way our eye functions naturally by improving the sharpness of the place of the image where the user is looking. Likewise, Eye Tracking can allow avatars to mimic users' eye movements, or improve realism of focus and depth of field effects.

This technology is already offered on some high-end VR headsets such as the StarVR One or the VRGineers XTAL. Likewise, Oculus has announced that it is working on its own eye tracking solution for its future VR headsets. In 2019, we can expect Eye Tracking to become more democratic and extends to mid-range helmets.


Virtual reality 2019: VR cuts the cord

Sales of first generation VR headsets are limited by several drawbacks. We particularly deplore a relatively low definition and the discomfort associated with the cables that connect these devices to the PC. However, in 2019, these issues could be resolved with the arrival of second generation helmets.


We are waiting in particular for the Oculus Quest, a new autonomous headset from Facebook whose release is scheduled for spring 2019. It will offer an experience similar to the Rift, but will work autonomously and therefore wirelessly. In terms of definition, the screens should also evolve from next year. Indeed, Google and LG have announced a 4800 × 3840 resolution display that should deliver much sharper picture quality. Likewise, the Pimax 8K is expected for January 2019.

Obviously, initially, the price of the headsets that will carry these screens will be extremely high. However, costs should quickly decrease and allow the democratization of this development.

Virtual reality 2019: Oculus and HTC dethroned in the PC VR market?

Since 2016, Oculus and HTC have reigned supreme in the PC VR market with their respective headsets: the Rift and the Vive. However, water has flowed under the bridges for two years. In 2019, new and very promising helmets manufactured by other manufacturers will be marketed.

We can cite the Pimax 8K, manufactured by the Chinese Pimax VR, or the StarVR One, the result of the partnership between Starbreeze and Acer. These devices offer significantly higher performance and many additional features compared to first generation headsets. If Oculus and HTC don't retaliate quickly enough, it is very possible that they will lose their leadership positions next year.

Virtual reality 2019: ever more location-based VR

Location-Based VR consists of offering users to pay for a virtual reality experience away from home, for example in an arcade or in a dedicated center. Very often, the experience offered exceeds what is possible at home. For example, The Void created the “Star Wars: Secrets of Empire” VR experience in which players can move across a warehouse and experience multi-sensory stimuli such as temperature changes through different sophisticated devices.

Faced with disappointing sales of virtual reality headsets, it is fort likely that new location-based experiences will emerge in 2019. Disney and The Void, for example, have announced their intention to create more such experiences, and even Oculus intends to create its own dedicated VR arcades.



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