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Marketplace Morning Report

Virtual reality is star of this year’s E3

Molly Wood Jun 15, 2015
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E3, one of gaming’s biggest events, kicks off Tuesday in Los Angeles. “From Call of Duty: Black Ops 3,” which features female soldiers on the frontlines, to “Star Wars: Battlefront,” dozens of video games are being unveiled. But one aspect of gaming, virtual reality, has the tech world buzzing.

Virtual reality grew in the gaming world. But where it will meet the masses is in mobile technology. Mark Bolas, director of the Mixed Reality Lab at the Institute for Creative Technologies, says Facebook, Samsung and Google are already in. “They’re all jumping in in a way that’s slightly skewed toward the thing that they’re best at,” he says.

For Samsung, it’s mobile phones. For Facebook, it’s the social experience in a virtual world. Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense, says this is the year virtual reality engages more developers — especially in the mobile space. “There’s going to be hundreds of millions of these phones that have VR capabilities by the end of 2016,” he says.

The trick is getting VR headsets into consumers’ hands. The Oculus Rift, for example, is going to come bundled with an Xbox controller. Will mobile phones come with headsets? Rubin says for that to happen, there have to be good applications consumers want. Otherwise it’s just a funny-looking device strapped onto your face.

 

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