We’ll see new forms of immersive entertainment, and inanimate objects will come alive with the virtual reality. Trying to undermine this progress are intelligent and dangerous threats that must be outsmarted and outworked. 2018 will be an exciting and important year for software, and developers will play a fundamental role in it.
2017 was the first full year of high-end, commercially-available VR headsets. Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive led the way in full-power virtual reality systems (as opposed to smartphone-powered systems like the Galaxy Gear VR), but adoption has been slow. Analysts estimate less than 1 million units have been sold between the two.
Both systems, however, are making big moves to expand the market in 2018. Facebook and HTC have both slashed prices considerably on their flagship headsets. HTC announced a standalone headset just weeks after Facebook revealed the Oculus Go. Both of these “lite” headsets will start at much lower price point to attract new users (the Oculus Go will start at $199).
On the entertainment side of the industry, storytellers are creating better, more immersive stories. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, is a fully-immersive virtual reality “ride” that blends virtual and physical elements into an epic adventure game. “For mainstream audiences,” says Bryan Bishop of the Verge, “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire may be the first time virtual reality actually delivers on the Holodeck-esque potential it’s been promising all along.”
For developers who daydream what it must have been like to work alongside Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs on the first computer-generated movie, VR offers another generational opportunity to be at the crossroads of entertainment and tech. 2018 might be the last time to get in early before it goes full Hollywood.