I can vividly remember my first Virtual Reality experience and it was 25 years ago!
It was early 1990s. I was a teenager addicted to video games. When I wanted more sensation than my Game Boy could provide, there was only one option: the arcade hall. My favorite “happy place” took my pocket money, piece by piece.
I didn’t have a lot of pocket money, so I selected the games economically. The longer I played the same game the better I got and the more value I received out of a coin. Of course, I noticed the attractive, big double coin machines like Out Run and After Burner. They looked amazing, but too expensive.
Until… suddenly, out of nowhere, they had this new machine installed. A huge installation. It was guarded 24×7 by an operator and the cost was a whopping five guilders to play. It was an actual Virtual Reality (VR) experience. Some kind of shooter, where you could walk through some kind of platform. It looked like this. I was hooked! This was the future of gaming. Little did I know, I had to wait 25 years for my next VR experience.
25 Years Later
In 2016, the first real commercial VR systems (Oculus, HTC Vive) hit the market with a mainstream strategy. Early adopters have to pay top dollar to satisfy their need for innovations, but really can’t help themselves. I simply needed to get my hands on the first Oculus Rift. The rift alone is a fairly reasonable investment for $599, but the PC needed to run smoothly, starting at around $1750. I’m a MacBook user, so I needed to buy a dedicated PC to get started. I’m still waiting for $150 discount from Oculus Rift, but let’s say their service levels are just as young as their product.