From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

From VR to Metaverse, this article reads the history of virtual reality development.

It’s 30 years since the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, The Genius Weedman, hits theaters this month. 

This movie is rather absurd, and its idea is to warn people to pay more attention to the technology of virtual reality. VR was relatively new at the time. 

After Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, changed its name to Meta, the company’s strategic focus shifted to virtual reality and augmented reality, and it built the Metaverse platform. Since then, every major company has begun to deploy, or intend to deploy XR (the collective name for AR and VR) products. 

As of today, VR has come a long way, and it will have a longer way to go in the future. 

This article sorts out some “milestone events” in the VR field, starting with the introduction of the concept of VR in the 1992 film “Genius Weed Killer”. 

Premiere of the film “The Genius Weedman” (March 6, 1992)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

This movie isn’t the first time a Stephen King film has been adapted for the screen, and it’s been altered. 

The content of the film is slightly messy and contains elements of violence. But the noise and lighting in the film create a comforting dullness. 

It is mentioned in the film that VR will eventually be mastered by a small number of scientists and futurists. Over time, this assertion has become more and more proven to be correct. 

The novel “Avalanche” was published (June 1992)

Bosses of tech giants like Zuckerberg are drawn to the term “Metaverse.” 

The term “Metaverse” is exactly the word that first appears in this novel. 

The novel constructs a dystopian future. The book depicts that everything in the future depends on the Metaverse, and major corporations control all virtual reality networks. People work, play, do anything in the Metaverse. 

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

This seems to be exactly what Meta wants to achieve today. 

The concept of the Metaverse portrayed in the novel by author Neil Stephenson has a deep social hierarchy. The Internet world has not been liberated, nor has it evolved. Apparently this is the thinking held by Silicon Valley today. 

Rather than focusing on VR, this book focuses on language. Stephenson coined the term Metaverse, and we still live in it to this day. 

Nintendo releases the Virtual Boy (August 14, 1995)

This is an example of an experimental approach to Nintendo’s control design. The Virtual Boy was one of the first VR headsets. This device is nowhere near the quality one might expect. The Virtual Boy can only display stereoscopic 3D black and red images. 

But Nintendo’s device has allowed people to discover new ways to play games at home while wearing a headset. This model continues, but the equipment has been updated. 

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

Posted by Second Life (June 23, 2003)

Second Life is a massively multiplayer online game created by Linden Lab. This is a startup that started exploring XR in 1999. 

The game is a collection of player-designed worlds, a tiny digital universe containing all real estate and related brands. 

Real life is played out in Second Life. Someone even got married in the game. 

A lot of people feel that this game will be of great significance. In fact, from some perspectives it does. 

2000 was the heyday of the game. Since then, Second Life has received less and less attention. But now, Meta and other tech companies are feverishly chasing the Metaverse wave. Second Life in 2003 proved that this concept is not entirely new. 

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

Palmer Luckey on the Oculus Rift (2009-2010)

Palmer Luckey is an avid VR enthusiast. He is also the founder of Oculus. He first developed a prototype for the Oculus Rift, and he even saved up to buy parts for the device. 

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

According to a Eurogamer dossier, the earliest models had a 90-degree field of view, low latency, and haptic feedback. 

Luckey and Doom developer John Carmack struck up a friendship on the Meant To Be Seen forum, and together they made some changes to Luckey’s VR model. This important relationship continued until the formation of Oculus. 

The novel “Ready Player One” was published (August 16, 2011)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

Some of Ernest Crane’s best-selling novels are homages to elements of the novel Avalanche. 

The novel portrays another dystopia of the future, also reliant on VR technology. The theme this time around is escaping from global warming and widespread economic setbacks in the real world. 

The plot of this novel is a fusion of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, but also incorporates a lot of pop culture elements. So, this novel only scratches the surface of some of the issues involved with VR. 

Compared to Avalanche, the novel may not have had as much cultural impact on how people perceive VR. But the work helps clarify how VR relates to the real world. That’s exactly what today’s tech giants are after. 

VR has become a means of escaping the reality of suffering, the ultimate tool of escapism. 

Oculus Rift prototype was born (May-July 2012)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

John Carmack borrowed Luckey’s prototype and started showing his product to the media in early 2012, and the media was quite interested 

At E3 2012, Carmack announced that the Doom 3 BFG Edition would support VR headsets. 

An early prototype of the device was held together with electrical tape. Its launch has been hailed as “rekindling interest in VR development”. 

It also created momentum for Luckey’s Kickstarter project, which he had been planning before the Carmack demo. 

The first-generation Oculus Rift development kit proved to be very successful, raising over $2.4 million on Kickstarter. In-game VR modes are also starting to appear in PC gaming. 

Facebook acquires Oculus VR (March 25, 2014)

Oculus VR was founded in 2012. Luckey, Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell are members of the Showcase. Shortly after, John Carmack left Id Software to become CTO of Oculus. 

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

In 2014, the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion. Facebook plans to expand Oculus’ reach beyond gaming. 

Oculus has remained somewhat independent, partnering with Samsung on the Gear VR, the company’s first version of VR in a smartphone. 

Zuckerberg said in a press release announcing the acquisition, “Oculus has an opportunity to create the most social platform ever created and change the way we work, play and communicate.” 

Oculus VR eventually went to market in full as Facebook Reality Labs, which later became Reality Labs after Facebook changed its name. 

Google showcases Cardboard headset (June 25, 2014)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

The original Google Cardboard headset was a gift for those who attended Google I/O 2014. This humble cardboard helmet starts out flat and can be folded to accommodate a variety of different phones for a simple VR-like experience. 

It even includes a lever on the side that simulates touching the phone screen to interact in supported apps. 

Cardboard, the predecessor to Google Daydream, may still be the cheapest tool for viewing 360-degree videos. Google, which sells Cardboard on the website, will not discontinue production until March 2021. This device is most often used in Google’s campus expeditions. For many, Cardboard is the introduction to VR. 

HTC and Valve unveil the Vive (March 1, 2015)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

A participant experiences HTC’s Vive virtual reality glasses at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 

Facebook and Oculus aren’t the only companies exploring virtual reality. In 2015, the once-popular Android phone maker HTC launched the Vive, a VR headset designed in partnership with Valve. 

The original Vive used two 1080p displays, one for each eye, with a 90Hz refresh rate, and a base station to track room-scale VR movement. HTC and Valve’s headsets will help set the standard for PC VR development. 

In the years that followed, HTC continued to release VR headsets, and Valve finally released its own VR hardware, called the Valve Index, in 2019. 

Final Oculus Rift released to the public (January 6, 2016)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles at the Oculus booth at CES 2016 

Oculus finally made the consumer-focused Oculus Rift available for pre-order in 2016. This VR headset is expensive at $599 and requires an expensive high-end computer to work properly. 

Sony finally unveils PS VR (October 13, 2016)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

A visitor tests a pair of Sony’s new Project Morpheus 3D virtual reality glasses in front of a computer 

Project Morpheus was launched in 2014 as a VR headset in development for the PlayStation 4, and Sony finally launched its console VR system, the Playstation VR or PS VR, in October 2016. 

The PS VR features an ergonomically futuristic design, hampered in part by the intricate system of cables found on older PlayStation 4 models. The VR system also relies on the engagement of Sony’s Playstation Move peripherals and doesn’t have the same high-quality controls as the Vive or Oculus Rift. 

Enabling VR on a console that people actually own is a big deal, though, and in February 2022 Sony further revealed some design details for the PS VR 2. 

Apple and Google collaborate on VR and AR projects (2016-present)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

A participant experiences a Google Daydream VR device at Mobile World Congress 

Google experimented with phone-based VR experiences with Daydream, the now-defunct platform that used Android phones to power simple VR apps and games. Google is now reportedly working on an augmented reality device called Project Iris. 

Apple is rumored to be developing its own high-end VR headset, with AR hardware ahead of schedule sometime in the mid-2020s. It remains to be seen, though, whether Apple’s rumored headset is primarily for developers, or even if it will eventually launch. 

Facebook unveils Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S (April 30, 2019)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

An attendee tries out the new Oculus Quest virtual reality (VR) gaming system at Facebook F8 

Aside from the original Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest is probably the most important product for Facebook and Oculus.This standalone VR headset proves that VR apps and games can be attractive even without the processing power of a gaming computer. Moreover, the VR experience can be completely portable without the loss of experience that comes with the mobile version of VR. 

This also further cements the Touch controller’s position as a VR controller design. You can see this little ring with a handle everywhere, including the Oculus Rift S, and it’s more or less standard in all subsequent VR headset designs. 

Oculus Quest 2 launch (September 16, 2020)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

Gavin Menichini uses Oculus Quest 2 VR headset to demonstrate immersive virtual experiences 

Launched at the end of 2020, the Oculus Quest 2 is a complete version of the Oculus Quest, with a higher-resolution display, a more comfortable fit, support for hand tracking, and a more affordable price. 

The Quest 2 became Facebook’s vehicle to push VR, and thanks to the Link Cable, once the Rift S was discontinued, it would be the go-to way for users to have a PC VR experience. 

It seems a bit ambitious to use the headset for all the applications Facebook imagines, but the birth of the Quest 2 may allow ordinary people to experience VR is closer to the real “refreshing feeling”. 

Facebook changed its name to Meta (28 October 2021)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

The biggest sign that VR is here to stay (at least for now) is probably why Facebook decided to rebrand its name as Meta and focus on building a “tangible internet.” 

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about Facebook’s decision and the company in general, but through its hype around the Metaverse, it’s certainly set off a wave of VR craze. 

“Metaverse” fire, become the ultimate buzzword (now)

From VR to the Metaverse: Looking Back at 30 Years, 18 Big Things That Changed Virtual Reality

After the emergence of the “corporate Metaverse”, it seemed that we had no choice but to follow these companies. 

Everyone has a way of explaining and selling the “Metaverse”, and they’re all terrible. Metaverse has become a meaningless buzzword to indicate that your company is doing something futuristic. Meta also bought a somewhat scary Super Bowl ad for Quest 2. 

After losing a quarter of its value at one point, Meta is apparently considering a return to video. The cycle of VR and the Metaverse, going round and round, continues. 

References: 

https://www.inputmag.com/tech/the-lawnmower-man-meta-most-important-vr-moments-timeline 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/from-vr-to-the-metaverse-looking-back-at-30-years-18-big-things-that-changed-virtual-reality/
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