Virtual reality: giving us a whole new media experience and new market

"Exploring Virtual Reality" by fabola is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

when we mentioned VR, most of us immediately think of a person wearing a thick pair of glasses and doing his entertainment in the virtual world. In recent years, the technology of AR/VR has come into people’s field of vision, VR Games, VR glasses, VR News, this series of new technology has come into us, let us begin to have the curiosity and interest of VR technology. The advancement of virtual reality technology has brought more possibilities and diversity to media presentation and brought more convenience to life. Today, the traditional way of screen presentation cannot meet People’s performance for the media, and people have always had visions and fantasies of virtual worlds.

This article will introduce the development, application, and characteristics of VR to show how VR technology has not only brought more ways to our media and entertainment, but also brought new experiences to education, medicine, and other areas of life.

  • What is VRHow did it develop

The purpose of virtual reality is to help people interact in a digitally created world or to simulate the real world(Fuchs,2011). And it can help people escape the real world for a while, and enjoy the pleasures and inauthenticity of the virtual world. Although virtual reality’s main technology is created in the digital world through computer science, it combining coupling human sciences with engineering. Immersion and interaction are two of the keywords in VR technology(Fuchs,2011).

Source: (Virtual inside, 2020, standard Youtube license)

Although VR technology has only been known and used by the general public in recent years, the development of VR technology has not been short-lived.

In 1935, The concept of VR first appeared in science fiction, Stanley G.Weinbaum written In his novel, Weinbaum describes virtual reality glasses that pioneered virtual reality devices (1935, p.2).

In 1962, Film photographer Morton Heiliing created a simulation simulator called sensorama, which is the prototype of the virtual device(Schroeder,1993). Ivan Sutherland has developed the first computer graphics driven helmet display “The ultimate display” in 1968 (Ivan,1968).

In 1984, Jaron lanier invited a virtual reality device called the Eyephone, compared with previous devices, this device has been significantly improved, and it has more advantages for people’s psychological and physical (Chuck et al.,1990 ).

In 1991, the development of VR technology led to a new era, with the official emergence of VR games, the virtuality 1000 CS released by the W industry.

In 1995, the most famous game company Nintendo launched a 3D graphics VR game: virtual boy. Nintendo has given great expectations to this new virtual game. However, due to the immaturity of early game technology and the high price of equipment, VR games still do not resonate with the public. This can be regarded as a failure of the VR game, so this has also caused the delay of VR to enter the public’s field of vision.

Until 2014, when Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion and became determined to develop VR devices, Facebook founder Zatberg wanted VR devices to become a common entertainment device, not just for playing games and watching movies, but also for the way we interact with others(Minsker,2015).

  • Overview of VR market, Who is the winner?

The VR market in the early and middle stages of development did not get a lot of market growth and wireless networks are not well popular also has a great connection, in recent years with the full penetration of wireless networks and the price of VR equipment more and more people-friendly, the popularity of VR should be in recent years to get a peek (Tankovska , 2020).

Overview the VR Market Insights, we can see that commercial applications dominate the VR market with a 52.5% share(Virtual Reality Market Size, 2020), the entertainment industry, such as games and movies, occupies the main market of VR, and more people want to buy VR equipment mainly because of its entertainment nature. So the gaming industry is undoubtedly the fastest growing industry affected by the development and growth of VR devices, and it is this immersive and interactive nature of VR devices that is driving the development of games in VR. In the regional insight survey, the Asia Pacific market is the largest share, occupying 41.4%, thanks to the high importance of electronic equipment production in Southeast Asia. Japan even launched 5G advocating VR connectivity (Virtual Reality Market Size, 2020), you can see the trend of VR trends towards more and more attention, and mobile phones as mobile devices, the country is willing to provide more hardware to support its development. This should also be attributed to the fact that sony, a major manufacturer of VR devices, and Nintendo, a game developer, are both headquartered in Japan, resulting in a market atmosphere that is very conducive to the promotion of VR.

Fig1. Global VR market share, by application, 2019 (Virtual Reality Market Size, 2020.) some rights researved.


VR as the 21st-century electronics market-main development object, electronic equipment manufacturers are interested in it, Samsung, Sony, Oculus (Facebook) Microsoft, are the major manufacturers of VR equipment.

When most people think of manufacturers of VR Head-mounted device, Google’s VR glasses must come to mind but looking at the market share of VR devices in 2018-2019(Tankovska , 2020).






Fig.2. Estimated VR device shipment share by vendor worldwide in 2018 and 2019

As VR devices become more and more recognized for their entertainment and practicality, occupying a larger and larger market share, there are bound to be more electronics manufacturers to carve out this market.

  • VR in our world…The application of VR in life

Compared to AR, VR requires the wearing of a device to create a virtual world, so VR has not been as widely used in our lives as AR, but VR technology has been very well applied to military science, medicine, and other important fields, for example, VR technology can be applied to clinical medicine to treat autism and other diseases(Negrón et al.2020). The vigorous development of VR technology provides more fresh ways for our life media entertainment, 3D, 4D movies have gradually become the mainstream of the current movie, The VR glasses is to create space in an unreal way, “the whole video space loaded with an artificial world”, so that the audience can perfectly enjoy the immersion brought by VR glasses(Jones,2019).

“Start VR Introduces Virtual Reality to Chemotherapy Patient Program at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse” sourced: Samsung Newsroom is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The role of VR technology in the media is not only to bring a different way to entertain the people but also to be useful in other ways. For example, researchers have shown that learning through VR can be much more in-depth than when the same material is presented on a screen with static images and text(Moreno& Mayer,2002). Because learning through VR, a higher level of immersion can help increase the sense of presence, and multi-faceted visual, auditory, and tactile perception can help people understand the concepts being learned more quickly. Also, the effect of VR on children’s education on traffic laws is remarkable(Andru,2017,p.6). The immersion of VR can also be applied to the tourism industry,People can take “virtual tours” through VR technology. This virtual experience is not a complete simulation, but it is a more effective way to advertise and get people interested in the destination than just having them browse pictures on a website(Guttentag,2008). And this technology is even more applicable in this covid-19 situation because people around the world are not able to travel around the world due to the epidemic, but they can experience the beauty of other places through VR devices.

“Students of Celebration High School participate in the Navy’s virtual reality asset.” Sourced: Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • In conclusion

This article describes the origins, development, and applications of VR technology and describes its two main characteristics: immersion and interaction, which create more media entertainment for us, and bring more possibilities to our media life, but also help us to have a new way of education, life, and so on. The trend of VR devices is getting closer and closer to our mobile phones and other mobile devices, I am sure that VR devices will grow even more dramatically in the next few years and can bring more entertainment and utility as media devices until they become as popular among the masses as mobile devices.




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Irene Ding
About Irene Ding 5 Articles
Digital culture and Visual arts student in USYD.