Disney World shows that VR is pointless?

If you’re trying to save a few dollars, maybe a head-mounted display is a good idea. What if you don’t care about capital cost? Disney World has a lot of immersive simulators that don’t require any headgear for the park guests. They just project a virtual world on big curved screens.

What about for home use? Why not build a small room in a house with a curved screen that completely surrounds the player? Use whatever tricks they’re using at Disney to make the projection work, but with $100 LCD projectors instead of the super bright ones needed for the monster domes that hold hundreds of people simultaneously.

If you’ve got your head-mounted VR system on, you’re not going to be a great asset to the rest of the folks in an apartment or house. Why not declare that immersive gaming is an activity that happens in its own room? Maybe it costs $5,000 instead of $500 for the hardware, but people used to pay $5,000 for the then-new plasma TVs.

Readers: Would this be better or worse than the VR headsets?

5 thoughts on “Disney World shows that VR is pointless?

  1. From my friend who is working on these now:
    “The title, while provocative, shows naiveté about how this works. For a room to deliver the kind of interactive 3D immersion you get with a headset, only one person can be in the room at a time (2 for very fast OLED/LCD panels), and you still need to track your head position accurately. Vergence accommodation conflict will be worse in a room. I love the idea of having less on my head, like 50-100 gram 3D glasses instead of a 700g VR headset.”

    • I think that your friend is saying ‘Those Disney sim-based rides are bad experiences.” Yet people line up for between 2.5 and 5 hours for the Disney sim-based rides. So it seems safe to say that they are at least good enough from a tech point of view.

  2. Aren’t flight simulators very specialized VR setups?

    The Smithsonian Air and Space museum in D.C. had some nifty ones that were on hydraulics.

  3. Phil,
    He did not say they were bad experiences and he – like you – has taken them. He says:

    “I specifically did not say those Disney rides are bad experiences. I love them. What I said was they cannot produce the “immersion you get with a headset”. The Disney rides work, with some limitations, for objects at infinity. This allows everyone to see the same thing. If you want objects close to you, for example to interact with, and you want to do this with more than one person at a time, each needs their own headset. Or, the objects can get close but vergence is totally fucked. VR headsets still cause motion sickness because your various senses are getting conflicting signals, but Disney rides are much, much worse. The Disney rides last just a few minutes, so you can tolerate the sensory conflict, sort of. Star Tours lasts 5 minutes. You can watch a 2-hour 3D movie, but again, you can’t interact with it up close. You can’t walk around stuff, or hold it in your hand”


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