Future techNO!

I said at the time 3d televisions were unlikely to take off and certainly with the glasses requirement you don’t often see your neighbours sitting around a screen warmly offering you a pair of glasses as you sit down with a can of wicked strength lager to watch the football.

It may be state of the art technology, but that doesn’t stop the wearer looking incredibly silly.

I said Google Glass at the time was merely something that appealed to the “trendy” brigade who liked to think they were on top of tech and its associated fashions.  I said it would go nowhere and whilst Google has some new implementation on the books, the Google Glass is now in the main collecting dusk and all those friends of yours who were at the time claiming to be on the cutting edge are very quiet (and in some cases financially much worse off).

So with this in mind what are some of the techNO’s presently looking for your custom with promises that “they are the future”.

First off the mark for me are curved TV’s.

The future is thinner.  Thinner and larger.  I think the corner cabinet with the TV is becoming a thing of the past.  Trends are dictating a more minimalist living room and the wall mounted TV’s are becoming common place.  For this reason the thinner the better.  Curved TV’s 0 thin and flat 1.  Winning side, the flat – it will be bendable wafer thin TV’s that we end up with.  Try sticking a curved TV on the wall and after having seen many of them I’m not buying into the “viewing experience” claimed by manufacturers.

For those that have bought a curved TV, long before your TV expires, you’ll see your neighbours with paper thin TV’s taking up no space and looking fantastic on walls.  So you’ll either have to invest again in a set, or get your monies worth out the curve and be the “retro” neighbour.

VR.  Many companies are jumping on this bandwagon, promising that its the next big thing.  If we look at Star Trek with its holo-deck as being the ultimate tech goal, then its easy to see why VR seems a natural progression from where we are.  I say different and here’s why.

Anyone in their 40’s (or around that age) will remember we have seen this before.  At the time our computers and software were not as sophisticated as they are today but when VR came along, it never took off, why?  If we look past the price at the time, which would have dropped had we gone down that route, I would suggest the gaming experience (regardless of the tech age you are in) still has ties to real life that we don’t want to lose.  For example a games console can still be sociable even if offline, because people can watch you or join in for a two player game, you can also talk to people whilst having this gaming experience,  with speed and convenience playing a part.  Why are people playing games on tablets in the home when the games available on PC or console are usually far more aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated?  Why? Because of convenience and speed and you can still remain sociable with your family whilst playing them, our consoles are often located in different rooms or need to commandeer the household TV for play.

In today’s world we are always busy and there’s always a 1000 things (both work and entertainment) looking to grab our attention.  We want something to pick up and play quickly then put down just as fast to get on with something else.  We also don’t always want to be dancing around the room wearing a helmet, where you may not have enough room or just simply, can’t be bothered.

You may not be able to bling up your VR helmet to look like this, but make no mistake, you’ll look no less silly as you stumble about the house emersed in a game of Super Mario.

Now imagine playing a game of Call of Duty.  After you’ve strapped your head up with the device and aligned any focusing features (after all, peoples eye sight differs) you are now ready to play the game.  Maybe you’ll need to move about, maybe you won’t, but the simplicity of merely grabbing a controller and switching on the machine has an added task when we introduce a VR helmet.  What about your isolation from the real world? At present if you have a knock on the door when playing a game its no problem, put the controller down and answer the door.  With a helmet on, would you even hear it?  For many games players, I think we like being aware of the real world surroundings at the same time as playing a game.  We can be sociable with the family, we can answer the door, we can let the dog into the garden.  All these are taken away when you strap a helmet on and get completely immersed in Little Big Planet or Grand Theft Auto.

There will be great strides made in VR technology over the next two years, but I think the real market for these devices will be at organized events/venues where the space, and time is allocated specifically for this purpose.  Maybe a few apps will have a value with a VR device, but I think in the realms of mainstream gaming, VR will be very limited in its market penetration.  When VR tech is nothing more than a contact lens size device that you can wear immediately, ask me again, but for now going around with your smartphone strapped to your face looking like an alien race from Warhammer 40,000 or strapping one up around in your house and going on a rampage of destruction in the real world whilst you take on Bowser or Wario in the gaming one, is not going to happen any time soon – In my opinion, of course.

Happily though there are a group of people who like to think themselves tech savvy and jump on the bandwagon of any device.  These people need to be thanked, because as they throw away their cash, they are funding future developments and projects that will eventually benefit us all.

VR in my view will be like 3d televisions.  A niche market with limited appeal, a talking point for a few moments, but ultimately our life will dictate a more “traditional” gaming experience.


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