Get your wallets ready. According to consumer electronic forecasters, the 2016 holiday season is all about Virtual Reality domination in the Christmas gifting market. Virtual Reality, with its cutting edge technology, has taken a huge leap this year with the introduction of full-blown simulated reality experiences encapsulating audiences. So, it is time to keep up with the tide and get your loved ones the perfect gift of modern Virtual Reality this holiday season. But first, let’s take a look at the journey this groundbreaking invention has made over the years and why it has finally earned a spot under the tree this year:

The crude concept of creating Virtual Reality experience for users has been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that Morton Heilig, a cinematographer envisioned this experience as a means to stimulate audiences’ senses and to entice them to interact more effectively to the stories being narrated. Many of Heilig’s dreams and visions paved way for the future of VR technology, and what it has become to be known as. In the 80’s, Sega’s Master System 3D glasses were launched, a headset that recreated a 3D effect in a more personalized user setup. Around 1995, Nintendo tried its hand in this arena with the introduction of a 3D red-and-black based headset, called the Virtual Boy and various 3D games like Mario’s Tennis, Wario Land Series, Teleroboxer etc. In the late 90’s, a company named Virtuality Group, began introducing players to a one of its kind arcade experience called ‘the Virtuality cabinets’ which put them in a 3D polygonal world. They introduced several fast paced games such as the Zone Hunter as well as a special version of Pac-Man. It was only after the company Oculus VR jumped in, that the VR technology got a major uplift. Their first device, Oculus Rift, launched a kick starter campaign and played a key role in making VR experience wildly popular among the masses.

Be it the high-end PlayStation player or the softly seasoned VR vet, there are a plethora of options available that won’t break the bank, and let your loved ones enjoy the experience of engaging in virtual reality at any time and place of their choice.

  • Ideal for the kids, Mattel View-Master at $20, is an advanced version of the classic Mattel and is amazingly durable and fun to keep them indulged.
  • Google Cardboard, compatible with most phones in the market, comes at a reasonable price of $30 and is the closest gateway to VR.
  • For Samsung phone owners, the Samsung Gear VR, priced at a modest $99 and boasts of some of the best quality reality content combined with Oculus touch.
  • The Figment VR iPhone Case doubles up as a virtual reality viewer. Available at $55, this is compatible with the iPhone 6 generation and later and makes Virtual Reality more accessible by letting you load up your Youtube 360 VR video or Google Cardboard.
  • The PlayStation VR, Sony’s PS4-high end headset, essentially pitched as the ‘must-have’ Christmas gift of this season, avows 50 superior quality games for core console customers and comes well under $800 coupled with a console, headset, and camera.
  • Oculus Rift, the poster child of VR technology provides the revolutionary gaming experience with full 3D immersion to the user; also priced at $800, this device is powered by developmental tools that give freedom to anyone to build their own game from scratch!
  • If you have a photography enthusiast friend, the Samsung Gear 360 camera is hands down the best spherical panorama camera available in the market for them. This comes with fisheye lenses that can capture an impressive 30 MP images and also shoot time-lapse high-resolution videos.

The dawn of Virtual Reality gaming has created a lot of buzz and excitement about the future prospects of this sector. With tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Sony are showing a groundswell of interest in this space, something extraordinary is definitely anticipated. The GameFace labs, claims to have developed a 2.5K prototype with its own lens technology and promises to make the VR experience more conventional and accessible with its content distribution platform uniting game developers. There is also some buzz regarding the use of nanotechnology to push the boundaries of Virtual Reality and literally allow images and/or scans of the human brain to be uploaded into a computer system. Virtual Reality can also emerge as a powerful teaching tool; enabling people to be fully present in a different world, exploring the foreign countries and reaching the depths of the oceans. In the long run, it is expected to enrich the way we socialize and network with people around the world, by providing a platform to collaborate, share moments, sing karaoke or simply hang around in a virtual environment of our choosing, anywhere around the world.

Thus, Virtual reality holds an immense potential in the artistic, medical, recreational and engineering fields. It will redefine human interaction and pave the way for new methodologies.