December 21, 2015

The 6 Most Important Things That Happened in Virtual Reality in 2015

Credit: Illustration by Tim Lahan

A lot happened in virtual reality this year; here are the key things to remember.

(December 21, 2015)  Though virtual reality is still far from mainstream, 2015 was a big year for the industry as new headsets were introduced—some full-featured and powerful, some simple and portable—and companies announced new ways to control and capture VR imagery, too. Throughout the year, investors poured money into companies developing the technology, content creators figured out how to make everything from films to advertisements in VR, and millions of Americans experienced virtual-reality technology for the very first time.  

With all that happened, it can be hard to sift out what’s most important. We cut through the virtual noise to bring you the six most significant events in virtual reality this year.

1. HTC and Valve show off the Vive VR headset

In March, smartphone maker HTC and video-game company Valve Software pulled back the curtains on their collaborative virtual-reality effort, the Vive headset. Vive has a tracking system that uses lasers to keep an eye on your location within a space as large as 15 by 15 feet, making it possible to roam around while using the headset. The Vive is slated for commercial release in April.

2. Oculus unveils its first consumer headset, Rift, and Oculus Touch hand controllers

In June, Facebook-owned Oculus trotted out its first consumer headset, Rift, and a pair of half-moon, button-bedecked controllers, both of which it plans to release next year (see “Oculus Shows Its First Consumer Headset, Circular Hand Controls”).

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