Google distribute 1 million free Cardboard VR headsets

I’ve talked about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality here a few times before, in particular the slow pace at which both are making a mainstream impact. Slowly but surely though, we are starting to see examples manifest in the real world. Just last week a collaboration between Google and The New York Times was announced to distribute 1 Million Google Cardboard Virtual Reality headsets with the NYT Weekend edition on November 7th. This will let users view a 360 degree documentary that NYT have produced based on the current refugee crisis. While it sounds like a pretty cool concept in general, it also has the potential to have a massive impact in terms of giving basic smartphone-based VR technology a mainstream reach.

In a more high-end capacity, Sony’s effort, the recently renamed PlayStation VR, has just been given an estimated release date for the first  half of 2016. Last month I got the chance to try out the then-titled Project Morpheus and it blew me away. Much more-so than the first edition of the Oculus Rift I tried out last year which left me pretty disappointed to be honest. VR seemed to play a pretty big role at this week’s Paris Games Week showcase so you can be sure that Sony plan to make this a significant part of their offering going forward. As mobile gaming (and Apple TV-style gaming) becomes more and more popular, games consoles will have to find new ways to differentiate themselves and offer a more full-on experience for hardcore gamers. I was fortunate enough to try out one of the flagship PlayStation VR demo games, “London Heist”, at the GAMES15 event in Dubai last month and I couldn’t believe how immersive it felt. No doubt there are countless PlayStation developers hard at work coming up with some kick-ass ways to use this technology as we speak.

Something else that serious impressed me this week was the new demo video from Augmented Reality platform Magic Leap. It features actual footage this time, not just concept imagery, and looks amazingly crisp and life-like. I can totally imagine experiencing it as it was previewed in the video. The possibilities this technology can throw up are endless.