Today I tried a simple and casual, walking simulator virtual reality app for Oculus Rift. As an Oculus Quest 2 owner with an Oculus Link cable, I was able to experience it on my headset as well.
The price of the app is $10. It’s around a 3-minute walking virtual reality walking experience where you get to check out different Japanese settings, including a Japanese alley, subway corridor, Japanese-style room, Japanese restaurant, and a Japanese temple.
I was more interested in getting a deeper understanding of the user of virtual reality for tourism and relaxing VR experiences. However, as a person who spent 7 months in Japan in 2019, I really wanted to get experience Japan in VR, even for a tiny bit, just to get a feeling that I am there right now, although I am not.
I’ve spent there half and house. It went by very fast considering the little amount of content that the app has. It was maybe too simple. No animations, no interactions, no people walking, and I personally couldn’t free-move myself, just blink to move.
That being said, these type of virtual reality (VR) apps inspire me and allow me to open my mind to what’s possible in VR as a new user to the medium. Sometimes the simple VR apps and games are the most inspiring ones for me, as it was in Augmented Reality as well.
VR can be amazing for the tourism industry, allowing people to experience places before they physically visit them or attend events. It allows people who otherwise couldn’t visit physically the place, to get a taste of it in VR. With VR and AR technology moving forward, we’ll be able to have amazing virtual tour experiences in Japan (or any other place) anytime we want. It has never been so imperative especially now when we are in quarantine, closed in hour homes in certain locations in the world.
Using VR, I can go out and take a walk in a street in Japan. In the future, this would be much more realistic and immersive.
That being said, after playing Cyberpunk 2077, it made me wonder how amazing it would be being in a lively virtually created city in Japan–one that resembles the details of “Night City” as in Cyberpunk 2077. Experiencing it in Virtual Reality. I don’t mind that not being a realistic version of the places, but with all the inherited cultural signatures that makes a certain place look and feel Japanese.
If I enjoy this virtual reality walking simulator in a simple and short VR experience, I can’t imagine how it would be in a more complete one.
There is also the relaxing aspect of things. Using VR to escape reality and put yourself in a place that you enjoy and love. A visit to this place is immediate, you don’t need to fly and it’s cheap and very accessible. There are already plenty of these type of relaxing VR apps that do just that. Take you to that other place that you want to be in and allows you to stay and experience it for as long as you want. There are virtual reality videos (I’m going to spend more on that this week) that also give you that type of experience. However, these are real places, and you are in that lively video feed shot in a 360-degre camera camera and can experience the place using a virtual reality headset.
I plan to spend more time in those type of virtual reality apps to really understand what ticks it for me in VR and understand the possibilities of VR for different type of applications and market demand. That would be an interesting experience and I am just getting start in VR.
Every day I am inside VR I discover more and more about what’s possible. It’s a wonderful technology that even the simplest applications have an impact on me in some degree or another.
You can buy VR Japan app for Oculus Rift on Steam. Keep in mind, as I said, if you have the Oculus Quest 2, you can play any of the Oculus Rift apps on your VR-ready PC with the Oculus Link cable.