The unveiling of virtual reality console Oculus Rift is set to create opportunities for UK businesses and spark an innovation race
The UK is already Europe’s largest video game market, and the third biggest globally (valued at £3.9bn in 2014) – and that looks set to grow even further with the eagerly awaited unveiling of a new piece of tech.
After a three-year voyage that left port at crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and sailed through a $2bn (£1.3bn) Facebook acquisition, Oculus Rift – the first major virtual reality (VR) console – finally arrived into tangible existence at a publicity event in San Francisco in June.
“It’s light, you can hold it with one hand,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said as he held it up. “It feels like you just put on a pair of glasses.”
The technology – a sub-aqua mask-like head mount allowing wearers to immerse themselves in a 3D gaming world – will go on sale in the first quarter of 2016.
A price is yet to be announced, but with rival VR systems from the likes of PlayStation, Microsoft, and Samsung due for release later the same year it will mean big changes for a flourishing UK gaming industry.
Today there are nearly 2,000 video game companies in the UK and, with the dawn of a whole new gaming platform, that number is expected to climb.
Mass accessibility of this tech will also enable wide-scale collaboration outside of gaming. Businesses and other teams can use it to share their development and progress regardless of geographic location.
As with the emergence of other landmark technologies, early expectations may well outweigh the capability of the hardware’s fledgling versions. But VR has just arrived on the UK business scene – and it’s sure to be a game-changer.
To find out more about the Oculus Rift and its developers, visit oculus.com