Look up “VR experiences near me” and you may be surprised at what you find. There’s even a library hosting a casual game of Pictionary in virtual reality in Millbrae.
When first-gen virtual reality headsets were introduced back in the spring of 2016 an anticipated revolution was underway. But it’s been slow going to become as mainstream as anticipated. For the average person, the headsets are still expensive, which is why you see more organizations, arcades and companies hosting VR experiences. Will wearing a headset become as pervasive as walking around with a smart phone in your pocket?
We caught up with Joanna Popper, Global Head of Virtual Reality for Location Based Entertainment at HP, to get her take on the state of VR (and give you a taste of what she’ll share with delegates at Harvest Summit).
You travel the world speaking about VR. Is there a theme or question that comes up more than others?
The themes that people are most curious about are when we will have mass consumer adoption and what is the most exciting VR experience. We will be talking about both of these topics at the Harvest Summit and more.
What application of VR are you most excited about?
I work closely with the entertainment industry and I love the immersive multiplayer social experiences that take you into other worlds such as Dreamscape Immersive, Zero Latency, Spaces, Nomadic, VRStudios, Two Bit Circus and more. They’re all unique, ground-breaking and a lot of fun.
I’m also really excited about the phenomenal work being done with VR training. Many companies are using VR for training in circumstances that are dangerous, expensive, geographically hard to reach or where virtual role playing might be more effective. The results are astounding with 5% retention for reading material, 10% retention for a presentation and 75% retention for a VR experience.
Tell us about the HP Reverb and G2 VR backpack PC? How much do they cost?
The HP Reverb has 2160×2160 per eye resolution, is lightweight and comfortable at 1.1 pounds, is easy to set up with inside out tracking and you can access all any Steam content via a bridge with WMR. It is ideal for any environment where quality of visuals makes a difference. The resolution is about 2x most other headsets which makes a huge difference in the experience. Price point is about $600-650.
The HP VR G2 backpacks have 2080 GPU and are 30% more powerful than HP’s previous generation of backpacks, which were already the most powerful on the market. They can be used for free roam VR or as a mini high performance compact PC in small spaces. Price points vary depending on configuration but approximate $3-4k.
What’s your vision of “mainstream” VR?
My vision of mainstream VR will occur when our main computing source will be some sort of smart glasses rather than our smart phones and VR/AR becomes the screen we choose.
What does successful collaboration look like between hardware, software and content creators?
That’s a great question. At this point in this nascent industry, collaboration between hardware, software and content creators is crucial to keep moving the industry forward and make the right kinds of technological leaps. At HP, we work very closely with our partners to take their feedback and incorporate it into roadmaps and future products. That collaboration is fundamental and makes the industry better.
What unique role do you see women playing in the industry and in the development of the future of VR?
The growth of VR is happening at a unique time when there is a well-needed focus on representation in businesses. There are so many wonderful women paving the way across all aspects of VR: engineering, developers, programmers, designers, storytelling, directing, producing, audio, developer relations, marketing, sales, finance, legal, teachers, healthcare professionals, executives and all of their contributions are needed to make sure that this industry is inclusive and doesn’t suffer from similar mistakes as past waves of computing.