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OPLIN 4cast #537: As VR stabilizes, options–and worries–expand

Posted in 4cast, and Virtual reality

The virtual reality landscape is beginning to settle, transforming from an “emerging” technology into a “settled” one. Even if you or your library haven’t experienced VR yet, various VR devices, games and applications have been on the mainstream consumer market for over a year. (It’s harder to call a technology “emerging” when you can simply go to Best Buy and find multiple options. ) Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that new things aren’t happening in the virtual reality sphere.  Quite the contrary; as VR itself becomes a more settled technology, new issues and options are beginning to appear.

  • Never leave virtual reality with HTC Vive’s ‘Netflix for VR’  [Mashable] “At roughly $84 per year, that puts HTC Vive‘s subscription service on par with services like Hulu and Netflix, including features like a free initial trial month and the ability to cancel at any time. Given the relatively nascent commercial VR consumer base, a cancellation feature is vital to getting people to experiment with various VR experiences.”
  • On the Vive’s first birthday, the VR conversation is getting calmer [The Verge] “The current headsets are pretty good, but “they all have tragic flaws,” he says. Desktop VR is too complicated, and console VR monopolizes your living room, while mobile VR isn’t full-featured enough — and no midrange headset works with the iPhone, dramatically limiting its user base.”
  • ‘We’re running with scissors’: Why some experts worry about VR dangers [Polygon] “Much has been said about the positives of technology that can reshape reality or even create a new one, but last month two respected academic researchers held a talk at South by Southwest in Austin to explore not just those positives, but also the potential negatives of reality technology.”
  • Lowe’s turns to virtual reality for home improvement [CNN] “In a trial run, Lowe’s found that customers had a 36% better recall of how to complete the project when compared with people who watched a YouTube how-to video.”

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