It’s no secret that the time of mass market virtual reality (VR) is upon us, as the headsets from a number of manufacturers race toward the first consumer releases.

By the end of 2014 or early 2015, consumer VR is likely to become a key portion of the entertainment industry, with new games, films and digital experiences developed exclusively for the headsets.

Let’s have a look ahead to see what’s coming, and how VR could evolve over the next few years.

Slimming down

As with any new technology, a trimming down of the physical hardware size is a certainty. Much like we look back at early computers and cellphones, we’ll likely view the first VR headsets as antiquated and bulky.

Just how small these headsets will become though is an interesting question, as the displays still require an appropriate amount of enclosure space. Devices such as ski goggles will likely become the normal form factor, sitting close to the face.

Connectivity

The current range of VR headsets are dependant on external units to convert the digital signal into the correct format for the screens, with cable running from the PC or console to the unit, and then to the headset. Wireless could become the norm here, with the headsets completely independent of wires.

With battery technologies still relatively primitive, however, this is unlikely in the short term.

Enhancing the sound

Currently, VR headsets don’t come with any form of onboard sound, instead relying on external headphones. In some ways this is a good option, as consumers will likely prefer to use their own headphones.

The likely progression of VR sound is content developers tailoring games and films to the VR experience, with high quality virtual surround sound.

Over the next few years, we’ll see a number of changes come to the virtual reality hardware and headset market, especially as competition drives innovation. Potentially, entirely new ways of experiencing content will become available through these headsets.

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