Special Notice! Starting today, with this post, Cosma 3D will move from being a separate site to being a special section within this primary Cosma site. The new address for Cosma 3D is https://Cosma.org/3d. Notice that there is even a special menu for navigating the Cosma 3D section on the Cosma site. The older legacy site https://cosma3d.wordpress.com is no longer going to be updated, but it will remain available for access.
Today is the day! Over the last few years there have been a number of interesting hardware platforms that have emerged in the 3D, 360°, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality media spaces (i.e. Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Vive, etc.). It has been fascinating to watch things unfold, but now at the end of 2016 things are starting to settle down into a more traditional consumer market in which anyone can buy what they want when they want it at places like Best Buy or Amazon. The release of Playstation VR today is a particularly significant milestone because all of the major VR platforms are finally available for purchase by anyone who wants them. Here is a summary of the VR headset market today.
To mark the occasion, a number of news outlets released handy dandy summaries about all of the current VR headsets.
The Ultimate Virtual Reality Buyer’s Guide (Lisa Eadicicco, Time)
First Click: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR? (Thomas Ricker, The Verge)
You can find a full a run down of the current platforms ranging from low-end to high-end on the freshly updated 3D Platforms page here on Cosma.
There’s certainly still a lot going on, but something else has quietly emerged over the last year. A great deal of the most interesting content is authored in the Unity 3D or Unreal game engines and then released for multiple platforms. Better yet, a YouTube 360° video trailer or entire experience is often released along with the high-end experiences, so the some version of the content can even be viewed with a simple browser on your computer or phone. In addition, with just a bit more investment you can get an added degree of immersion by simply using Google Cardboard or View-Master’s VR Viewer. Check out “The List” page on this site to see the types of things you can see with varying levels of fidelity ranging from no special hardware all the way up to the most expensive headsets.
The higher-end headsets certainly offer many unique and worthwhile experiences that are not available on lower-end platforms, but for the majority of “real world, non-gamer” users, higher-end platforms are not a high-priority investment now, and with the way the VR world has focused almost exclusively on gaming experiences, they probably never will be. Therefore, while future posts on Cosma will certainly be spotlighting a wide range of cool 3D, 360°, virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive content, it will generally not be of the kind that absolutely requires special hardware that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars to experience. Of course, the Special 3D Section of this site will continue to include updates on the state of that market, so please stay tuned!