Though virtual reality is gaining popularity with an ever increasing number of businesses turning towards it for various applications, there are still some challenges associated with the technology. These are mainly associated with designing VR experiences according to one’s preferences, and can vary from strictly technical to others, like physical or experiential. If you are considering to experiment with this technology or have already done so and are struggling to deal with certain issues, keep reading :)
These are related to the technology itself. Various issues are faced in this regard. The field of view is the size of the area a user can see with his eyes. Normal human vision means looking around 190 degrees horizontal and 120 degrees vertical. Therefore, large visual fields (over 180 degrees) allow a realistic feeling of perception. Smaller visual fields can create black edges on the sides that disturb the illusion of immersing oneself in the virtual world. Most VR devices have a field of view of 90 degrees which makes it hard for companies to design a realistic experience. Consequently, the next generation of VR systems should have a higher quality of lenses and the display should be able to capture as much of the field of view as possible to ensure greater immersion.
Latency, the time taken between receiving an input and updating its display, is another technical challenge. A low frame rate can lead to disorientation, nausea, headaches and other side effects resulting due to latency. A high frame rate is needed as it allows the headset to refresh quickly and therefore prevents these negative user effects. VR headsets ideally need a frame rate of 60-120 FPS and compatible hardware.
These revolve around the comfort of the user. Firstly, lighter VR devices would definitely help make the user less concerned about the weight. Secondly, wired devices cause inconvenience for users as they risk stepping over wires and are confined to a particular area. This is due to the use of outside-in tracking systems (tracking the headset and controllers through an external device) that most present VR systems are offering today. Tracking is needed for headsets to determine when the user makes a movement so that they can reflect that in the simulation accordingly. This challenge could be overcome by the second generation of VR headsets which are adopting inside-out tracking and are thus wireless, e.g. the Oculus Quest.
As the name suggests, these challenges are related to the VR experience. The greatest problem in this regard is designing useful experiences with meaningful interactions for users. Despite the popularity of VR games and increasing awareness about this technology, there is still not enough exciting content in virtual reality and this lack of content in turn affects the acceptance of this technology.
The audience needs to be prepared to accept immersive content and its differences from other media like television. Therefore, not only will the society need digital literacy and education, but the access to VR devices for masses will also need to be increased if greater VR content is to be produced.
Moreover, cybersecurity is another challenge VR might come in contact with like all connected technologies. Security measures applied for other hardware like computers will need to be applied to VR hardware. Encryption techniques can be used to protect VR data in the cloud, along with limited access rights for other users, that can be controlled by content creators.
Though there are plenty of challenges to be dealt with when it comes to designing meaningful VR experiences, they are slowly being overcome by either advancements in VR technology or through individual efforts being made by VR content creators. It can therefore be expected that in the near future, these aspects will not act as hurdles in the creation of useful VR content. Our upcoming blog article will shed some light on these aspects. Stay tuned :)