Virtual reality does more than create immersive environments where we can find relaxation, education, fun, friends, and exercise. It inspires us. It encourages us to think outside the box in terms of possibilities. Statements that used to start with “if it were possible” now begin with “when this is available.” This is true with mixed reality as well.
Mixed reality is the combination of the virtual environment with the physical environment. It’s a form of VR media that allows our worlds to become intertwined.
Virtual reality can help with training, where people can gain new skills without endangering the lives of others. Learning new experiences becomes more vivid and memorable as users can interact with a virtual world, beyond books and web pages. There are mutiple experiences which help people learn in virtual reality.
“Mixed reality can be an important marketing tool for VR developers,” according to StealthShampoo , a VR shoutcaster and Twitch partner.
Since MR contextualizes VR, the players’ actions are given meaning so that you see how their actions in real life correlate with what’s happening in the game.
In regards to VR esports specifically, this can be beneficial. When spectators see a football player run downfield, dodge opponents, or jump in the air to score a game-winning touchdown, they understand the skill involved because they can see it happening. This is true of any sport in real life. With VR esports, viewers tend to watch the game as it appears in virtual reality (spectator mode) or they watch the players as they duck, spin, jump, etc.
Travel companies are using virtual reality to allow customers to visit places and determine if they wish to visit in real life.
Christoph Ortlepp had this in mind when he created Splitverse , the first company focused solely on creating high quality mixed reality content promoting VR esports – the players, games, devs, and leagues overall.
“Using mixed reality, we believe we can make VR more relatable and even immersive for the general internet audience,” says Ortlepp.
“We are focusing on working with VR pro players and established content creators to make more high level productions which promote VR esports and experiences.”
“At the very core,” he states, “we believe in the long run VR esports will be the biggest sports category in the world with the biggest player base – as big as basketball or soccer. We are seeing some early VR esports emerge right now and become popular so we want to cover this development in the best way we can and help it grow.”
In fact, many early promoters of virtual reality and VR esports have already been creating mixed reality content. StealthShampoo did this with his Twitch streams. He has a professional background in broadcasting with a degree from San Francisco State University so he’s familiar with mixed reality. He recently spent a week at the Splitverse studio in Missouri and agreed to share his thoughts about the process of filming and the potential for mixed reality media.
“While you can absolutely make mixed reality content in your bedroom with tech skills and a green screen duct taped to your wall,” he says, “Splitverse has built a production studio in Missouri specifically for MR production.”
The VFX-1. We can’t do a list about the history of Virtual Reality and not include the VFX-1. Released in the middle of the 1990s, the VFX-1 system was one of the most capable virtual reality headsets released on the market at the time. With stereoscopic 3D, multi-axis head movement detection and rotation, and the ability to play games that were not truly supported by the system, the VFX-1 was the true Virtual Reality deal at the time. Furthermore, their price tag was relatively cheap compared to other products on the market, coming at a mere $600. However, the VFX-1 was too advanced of a technology and it didn’t really take off. Later on, the company Vuzix that made the glasses was bought by Forte Technologies, which released a more expensive VFX 3D version, but it also didn’t manage to achieve huge success.
In an actual production studio, he explains that you can “do cool things like wide, mobile shots with an insanely huge green screen room.”
Since Splitverse is in the business of producing mixed reality content, they also have employees with specific, unique skills that enable them to produce high quality videos. This didn’t go unnoticed by StealthShampoo, who was impressed with Jacob Stradling and other staff members at the studio.
Ortlepp believes what he and his staff are doing with mixed reality is only the beginning.
“We definitely believe that in the future we’ll be able to choose between being represented in VR as an avatar or a high quality 3D hologram,” says Ortlepp. “With larger play areas we will also see real world objects being more and more used in VR.”
Citing the Oculus Quest demos at OC5, he points out that this is a type of mixed reality experience and he’s certain there is more to come. The Oculus Quest is the first all-in-one wireless gaming system built for virtual reality. It made quite a positive impression at Oculus Connect as users discovered the joy of being able to move around in real-life arenas while being transported virtually to immersive environments. It was the perfect blending of the physical world and the tech world. In other words, the Quest brought the concept of mixed reality to life.
Facebook is estimated to have more than 400 employees working on developing VR. Other companies known to have VR in development include Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Lau-tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, is quoted as saying, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
This is what’s happening with technology and VR esports right now. There were assumptions about what was possible, but developers have exceeded expectations. Some people have made exaggerated claims about the failure of virtual reality or downplayed the successes in the field over the past couple of years. This doesn’t change the fact that people are letting go of presuppositions and we’re changing the future as we embrace what “might be.”