Virtual reality has been around for over three decades, but with improved connectivity and more affordable headsets, 2020 could be a strong step towards mainstream adoption. This year could see improvements on an already impressive VR library of products and applications.

For most people, VR is associated with gaming. There is no better way to fully immerse yourself in a new world than through a VR headset. It’s a three-dimensional experience that instantly transports you to another time and place. VR games continue to benefit from new technology that improves graphics and connectivity. Not only could you be exploring a foreign landscape, but you can also do it with an online friend.

This added connectivity dramatically increases the scope of VR gaming. Whether you’re interacting with a live dealer at a casino table or watching an NBA game from courtside seats, VR offers an opportunity to be present in the room with real people across the globe.

As internet connectivity continues to strengthen, VR will gain traction as a viable mode of interacting with fictitious and real-world environments.

Mainstream adoption

One of the biggest hindrances to the mainstream adoption of VR has been the price point. It has often been too expensive for most people to purchase and set up in their households. This decade will certainly see a movement towards more affordable VR environments. There are many predictions that 2020 will see the price of VR headsets begin their descent to the wider populace.

Affordable price point

The reason for VR headsets being more affordable is that the technology has been established, and there are more competitors in the field. As more VR headsets hit the market, so too will VR titles. For now, most have been released through gaming consoles, but 2020 should see closer ties to your other devices.

With increased connection, 5G and updated WiFi, our devices are sure to be optimized to be the conduit for VR experiences. You could register through your Smart TV or Android phone for services and games. As the market for VR platforms grows, the price is sure to drop. While 2020 might not see VR hit the mainstream, it will certainly begin the process of making VR a more affordable mode of entertainment.

New consoles and platform releases

Another development in the gaming world will be the launch of the new Xbox and Playstation consoles. Both are strongly rumoured to be released later this year. This follows on from the launch of Google Stadia and Apple Arcade in 2019. Nintendo Switch may also release a new console after the Switch Lite released in 2019.

The gaming industry continues to dominate the entertainment world, and as the next generation of gaming platforms are released, you can be sure that VR will be part of the offering. A big trend at the moment has been cross-platform and cross-device gaming, which means that VR could extend into the mobile gaming arena. Once the application of VR extends to more devices, you can be sure that it will grow in popularity.

Improved design

For most things to become popular, they need to look good. VR headsets have continued to become smaller and neater, which should attract more buyers. Some headsets can double as AR headsets. This trend could bring an added application to owning a headset which will incentivize more people to go out and get one.

The newer headsets can also benefit from the increased connectivity on offer. This allows for better connections across devices. This, in turn, increases the potential use cases for the headset, making it more desirable.

VR in 2020

In 2020, there are already a host of applications for VR outside of gaming. They extend to the corporate world, education, healthcare, and various trade industries.

As corporate work encourages flexibility, remote work could be enhanced by having VR meeting rooms. Colleagues across the globe could engage in three-dimensional worlds rather than a carpeted boardroom. Perhaps meeting on the moon offers the idea needed to find a solution, or being in a simulated environment helps to identify the issues at play. This is of course only applicable once VR headsets are widely adopted, unless it becomes a prerequisite when joining a company.

In education, the classroom can be transformed to show in practice what is being discussed in theory. This will help guide an increasingly visually stimulated youth towards better education as they comprehend the subject matter at hand.

Similarly in healthcare, VR simulations can help aspiring doctors practice life-threatening surgeries time and time again. It is an affordable way to train nurses and doctors rather than with cadavers and prosthetic bodies. This can help raise the quality of healthcare in rural areas, which could save countless lives.

VR simulations are a great way to train for various trade industries, like electrical, plumbing and auto mechanics. It allows those practising to make mistakes and learn from them without losing their job in the process. Simulated environments could help a mechanic to see the effect of a new bit of bodywork, an electrician wire a housing development, and a plumber solve a blockage.

Many of these trades require an internship. VR training could help to reduce the length of these internships so that trade professionals can begin paid work sooner.

VR has a host of applications outside of gaming. As headsets become more affordable, the use cases will become more apparent and realistic. 2020 promises to be the year where VR begins its journey towards mainstream adoption.