This February, The Fintech Times is taking a deep dive into the world of gametech. Grab your headsets and controllers and plug in to hear about the latest tech and celebrities influencing the market to the development of eSports and much more.
The idea of living in a sci-fi world is not a novel one: with films like Star Wars, released in 1977, depicting a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in which humans live amongst aliens, are able to travel between planets and do things beyond our wildest dreams; Back to the Future II, showing a very tech-savvy future (though sadly the real 2015 left a lot to be desired when compared to the film); just to name a couple.
The idea of a futuristic world was portrayed in a new way in 2018, with the release of Ready Player One, a film showing people escape from the real world into a virtual one. Though there are many aspects of the film which seem a bit extreme, the idea of entering a virtual reality – a metaverse – seems to be one that experts believe is not out of the realm of possibility. The Fintech Times spoke to experts in gametech to hear their thoughts:
Tobias Batton, CEO and Founder of Ex Populus, said, “Avatar representation in the metaverse is definite, and already happening. There have been additional developments in VR that allow players to physically feel what is happening to them in a game, so the immersive nature of Ready Player One is possible. The more dystopian aspects of the film are a different story.”
Eyal Melnick, Creative director at Oto Motors, agreed saying, “Absolutely its a possibility in fact it is less sci-fi and increasingly a viable and plausible reality today. A little-known fact is that Virtual reality (VR) technology was invented in 1957 by Morton Heilig. His multimedia device called the “Sensorama” is considered one of the earliest VR systems. However, the term ‘virtual reality’ was coined much later in 1987 by researcher Jaron Lanier.
“Similarly the first AR (augmented reality) technology was developed in 1968 at Harvard, by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland created an AR head-mounted display system. So we are looking at legacy technology that is only now entering the era of full potential as the hardware and software are in an important phase of singularity.”
Steven Walters, CEO of Gallant Token, “Yes, it most emphatically is a possibility, in my opinion. With all the options and technological advancements that have occurred recently, there is a significant increase in the desire to personalise and connect in this digital world. According to current market research, some of the leading industries are now migrating into this space, purchasing, and developing “digital real estate” in preparation for what is to come. We’re a few years away from a mainstream Ready Player One environment, but it’s already happening. You can physically put on a VR headset and enter a universe where you can interact with others, customise your avatar, go shopping, play games, and do a variety of other things.”
The film suggests the technology is accessible to everyone, with everyone having an “omnidirectional treadmill”, sensor responsive gloves, and of course, a VR headset. While the base technology is there, and initial steps have been done to create a way to enter a digital universe and have your body’s actions respond in-game, there are a few pain points. The first of these is price. In order to experience something as wild as Ready Player One, the vast majority of gamers would need to have access to a system like the KatWalk C. However, this is not cheap – priced at around $1400, it would be very difficult to see large adoption rates initially if prices remain the same.
Saying this, some may argue this price is worth it. Reviewing the KAT VR, a YouTuber, ThrillSeeker said, “In normal VR you cannot walk and look around at the same time as traditional VR translates hand and head movements as wanting to move in a certain direction. The KatWalk uses your waist to record movement allowing the user to move their head and hands independently, creating a much more immersive experience.” In this sense, the technology seen in Ready Player One is just around the corner as the kinks are ironed out, allowing for a smooth representation in-game. The next step appears to be integrating a universe in which digital assets are transferable, and overlapping this with VR tech.
Looking to the future, the resounding response from experts was optimistic towards seeing a Ready Player One-esc universe. However, the timeframe to seeing one was still a way off as Virtuleap‘s CEO and co-founder, Amir Bozorgzadeh said, “Incrementally, yes, but we are at least a decade away from that type of high-resolution experience.”
Emily Safian-Demers, Editor, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence further pointed out an integral difference between the development of VR in the real world and what is seen in the film saying, “Ready Player One has become a popular reference point to illustrate the metaverse, but there’s a key difference: the metaverse as we’re predicting it will not be a virtual universe separate from the physical world, but an overlay onto it. The metaverse will be a digital extension of daily life, rather than an escape from it.”