When Will VR Ignite?
The AR/VR and Optoelectronic Industry Integration and Innovation Development Summit Forum, jointly sponsored by Shenzhen AR Association and Zhongshan Optoelectronic Industry Association, was held successfully in Zhongshan on December 18, 2020. The forum gathered industry leaders, experts, and scholars, which invited Mr. Huang Zhitang, Vice President and Co-founder of Shanghai Lexiang Technology Co., Ltd. (DapengVR), to speak as the keynote guest.
In the past two years, many large companies related to the VR industry have taken action. For example, last year, Google “cut off” its content platform, and this year it “cut off” its hardware platform. Xiaomi disbanded its VR development team last year, Huawei released VR Glass, Hisense entered the VR field this year, and Facebook released Quest1 in 2019, Quest2 in 2020, and will release a new machine in 2022. It is evident that AR/VR has attracted a lot of attention, but it has not yet ignited. As a leading domestic virtual reality company, DapengVR has always been at the forefront of the industry. Mr. Huang Zhitang is often asked when VR will finally have a breakout product.
Set aside the hustle and bustle of the industry, to analyze the essence of VR, what is VR? What is the core advantage of VR? What is the best display effect? Mr. Huang Zhitang analyzed from three perspectives-Wiremen, Product Managers, and Users.
- Definition of VR from the Engineer’s point of view:
VR: Virtual reality technology is a computing simulation system that can create and experience virtual worlds. It can generate a simulated environment using a computer and is a system simulation of interactive 3D dynamic scenes and entity behavior that integrates multiple source information.
- Definition of VR from the Product Manager’s point of view:
VR: Using technical means, focusing on people, simulate a virtual environment from the perspective of video, auditory, tactile, olfactory, taste, and natural interaction.
- Definition of VR from User’s point of view:
VR: Equivalent to the whole world, it can achieve everything that the real world can and cannot achieve in the virtual world!
What is the best way to monetize VR?
Mr. Huang Zhitang cited the movie “Ready Player One” as an example. In the “Oasis” of “Ready Player One,” humans can realize everything they want and simulate the five sensory systems of human life. In the “Oasis,” all dreams become close at hand. Imagine if the virtual world in the movie could be realized in VR, how could VR not explode?
But if the virtual world in the movie can be achieved, what problems need to be solved by VR technology?
- In terms of Visual Dimension:
There are mainly three problems in VR: dizziness, clarity, and transmission. The main reason for dizziness is that the visual system and the balance system have conflicts in receiving external information, causing the brain’s confusion and resulting in a dizzy feeling. Specifically, it is mainly manifested in VR as the body’s movement is inconsistent with the picture seen in the VR glasses. Within the next five years, the refresh rate of the screen is expected to increase to 160 Hz. The delay time of the picture can be reduced by nearly half, which will greatly reduce the dizzy feeling. At the same time, with the cooperation of force feedback devices, dizziness can be alleviated to a large extent.
- In terms of Tactile Dimension:
The tactile dimension can be divided into two parts: location and force feedback. For example, in a VR game, when we shake hands, we can see that we have already shaken hands in the VR glasses, but the lack of force feedback devices in reality means that we cannot feel the handshake, which significantly affects the user’s experience. The gap between domestic and foreign positioning technology is still large. To bridge the gap, it may take another two years. After addressing positioning technology, force feedback technology and the associated devices still need about five years to be improved.
- In terms of Olfactory Dimension:
It is easy to describe visual and audio elements in technology, using RGB and digital signals respectively, but how can we quantitatively describe the sense of smell? In fact, the sense of smell we feel in real life is nothing more than food fragrance, flower fragrance, gunpowder smoke, perfume, and so on. By simulating these common odors with seasoning packs, we can meet the needs of VR products in the olfactory field.
- In terms of Auditory Dimension:
360-degree panoramic sound headphones have already been launched, and the existing technology for VR hearing has fully met current application needs.
Through Mr. Huang Zhitang’s analysis of the key technical dimensions of the VR industry, it is possible to roughly predict the trend of VR’s future development. In 2020, although VR technology was not perfect in terms of vision, hearing, and touch, it was generally acceptable to users, and some VR applications have emerged in industries such as education and training, offline entertainment, and virtual real estate viewing. These industries currently have annual output values exceeding one billion yuan, with education and training and offline entertainment having the potential for annual output values exceeding 100 billion yuan. In terms of the consumer market, the annual hardware shipments are about 8 million, the annual revenue of the entire platform’s games exceeds 800 million US dollars, and the highest-grossing single game is about 100 million US dollars in revenue by 2024. When the visual, auditory, tactile, and transmission technologies have become relatively mature, VR will explode in industry applications. The VR equipment market will have a stock of more than 100 million units and an annual output value exceeding 100 billion yuan.
There is an old saying: “It is better to build an ark than to predict wind and rain.” Mr. Huang Zhitang said, “We need to predict the wind and rain, but we also need to build an ark. Because building an ark requires high funding and technology requirements, and it takes a long time. There is a possibility that the storm will come before the ark is built. Therefore, we need to make the right products at the right time based on the development process of the industry and invest in the research and development of key technologies for the industry’s future development.”