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Matt Johnson on Virtual Reality

Matt Johnson, EVP here at Bottle Rocket and General Manager of Thruster, sat down recently to discuss his experience at E3 and the direction that virtual reality is taking with platforms like the Oculus Rift headset.

VR is moving beyond gaming and taking on practical applications, such as real-world training scenarios. With an Oculus headset, for example, first responders can train for emergency situations without the danger of real world consequences.

“Now they can just simulate these environments and give them evaluations, grades, and analytics on how they did in real time,” Johnson said.

Oculus will release the second version of its development kit sometime this year, with several improvements to its successful formula. For one, DK2 should help eliminate judder and high latency. This means that putting on a VR headset will feel less jarring and move more fluidly, which should help with the nausea that some people experience.

DK2 also adds positional tracking to the Oculus toolbox – meaning developers can now use sensors to track where a user is and allow for greater range of motion within the simulated world. All of these factors (accelerometers and gyroscopes) combined will help establish the presence that Oculus and VR developers have been working to cement.

“Having a faster response display is key to this. If they can get that to a point where’s there’s no visible judder, then less people are going to be sick and it can be more widely consumed,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, two markets are going to evolve in the virtual reality arena: one lower end consumer market for new challenges in gaming and higher end experiences like simulated art museums and monuments you can step into from half a world away.

“We’re still at the very beginning, but this is moving faster than anything that I’ve seen before,” Johnson said. 


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