Greenlight Perspective 2020: Virtual Reality Becomes Truly Cable-Free

Ramon Conopio, Analyst Devices & Technology, Head-Mounted Displays, Insight Articles, Virtual Reality, Virtual Reality Intelligence Service

Virtual reality technology Oculus quest with hand tracking
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One of the biggest advancement of 2019 was the release of the standalone Oculus Quest headset, which delivers immersive virtual reality experiences without an external, tethered PC. Having its own processor restricts the device to a lower display resolution and lower refresh rate. To solve this, the company introduced Link, a feature that gives Quest access to Rift content and renders PC VR experiences into the device. Furthermore, hand-tracking was recently rolled-out ahead of its targeted official release in 2020, which eliminates the need for controllers. Facebook is leading the charge in consumer virtual reality devices, pushing considerable efforts to make the technology more accessible and affordable to critical masses.

The gaming and entertainment space remains to be the main driver for growth and Valve, a prominent name in the gaming world, will push that even further. Dubbed as the high-end headset for VR gaming, Valve’s headset Index offers 2K resolution display, refresh rates that can reach up to 144Hz and makes use of Base Station 2.0 for accurate tracking and room-scale precision. At a high-price point, Valve aims to deliver the best gaming experience and its entry represents a commitment to Valve’s belief of virtual reality as a next-generation gaming platform.

Display resolutions have notably improved as VR device use in the enterprise increased in occurrence. The demand for high-fidelity devices is high in the enterprise as precisely replicating reality is critical to a successful simulation. The availability of high-resolution headsets in the market offering up to 5K resolution is increasing in numbers. Varjo’s unique display is a standout for this year. The VR-2 offers human-eye resolution by combining two 1920 x 1080 micro-OLEDs and two 1440 x 1600 AMOLEDs, eliminating the screen-door effect. Such innovation brings underlying technology to the next level.

2020 is poised to be another strong year of virtual reality technology development as VR starts to generate more interest in the consumer and enterprise marketplaces. Greenlight Insights has followed the space carefully and identified key insights and likelihoods critical for stakeholders of virtual reality technology.

Current Haptics Leaves Alot To Be Desired

Haptic technology will play a big part in improving the overall experience in virtual reality, however, current technology lacks accuracy and improvements are needed. Advancements may be made in 2020, but it is unlikely advanced wearables that will be accessible to consumers. However, the underlying technology for hand-tracking could potentially kickstart advancements in haptic technology, as these two features are synergistic. 

Thanks to Quest, Oculus Gains On Playstation VR in 2020

While Playstation VR remains the market leader in VR gaming, Oculus is gaining more share in the market thanks to the onset of Quest. With Sony’s recent announcement of PS5 coming out in Q4 2020, it is logical for the company to release a new VR device alongside the gaming console to stay competitive. This would once again strengthen its position in the gaming market given its existing consumer base.

5G will be instrumental in the maturity of virtual reality technology. AI applications, such as computer vision, deep learning, and machine learning, will be more effective through ultra-fast speed bandwidth connections. User movements in virtual reality will be smoother and more realistic through low-latency capabilities. Wireless operators are planning for a widespread rollout of 5G networks in 2020, and if successful, the VR industry will be well-positioned for mainstream adoption, as 5G-enabled chipsets manufactured solely for VR/AR devices are readily available.

Inside-Out Tracking Becomes Commonplace

Inside-out tracking is becoming a standard in virtual reality as major players in both consumer and enterprise sectors recognize the advantages of its integration. VRgineers is currently in the process of adding this technology to its professional-grade headset, XTAL. The company is marketing this headset for automotive design and training simulation use cases, as freedom of mobility is required in these applications. Next-generation headsets will employ inside-out tracking as improvements in hardware lean towards portability. 

With more advanced chipsets now available in the market, standalone headsets will be a standard for VR for consumers and businesses, and upcoming devices in years to come will have more computing power that can deliver better immersive experiences. 

Want to know what will happen in 2020? Visit Greenlight Insights' Trends VR/AR/XR 2020 Hub, where you can read what's coming next in virtual reality, augmented reality, technology, innovation, and more.