Updated: Aug 25, 2021
Almost half of all worldwide investment in virtual reality is in entertainment. The value of the VR Global Gaming Sunday alone stood at $ 11.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent from 2020 to 2027.
Virtual reality technology is revolutionizing the entire entertainment world beyond gaming, including sports, performing arts, visitor attractions and creating more immersive, engaging experiences on social media.
We are getting closer and closer to a future where virtual and real worlds become inseparable and entertainment plays a key role in this transformation.
So is virtual reality the future of entertainment? There are tons of real-world usage examples that can be covered in this article, but for now let's focus on a few of the favorites.
VR visitor experiences
Museums and galleries around the world now offer virtual tours to increase interaction with visitors. Designed to bring art and culture to life, these tours vary in complexity, from simple 360-degree walkways to highly immersive experiences.
The National Gallery in London and the Vatican Museum in Rome both have VR tours that allow visitors to approach exhibitions and learn the history and stories behind them without dealing with travel or crowds.
The Virtual Museum of online art (VOMA), launched in 2020, is the world's first fully virtual museum. VOMA presents curated exhibitions with artwork borrowed from around the world.
Virtual zoo experiences, such as zoo World from Intentio Education Game Studios, make users more up close and personal with animals as they embark on a series of environmentally themed missions around the world.
VR technology can also be integrated into physical visitor attractions such as traditional theme parks. Roller coasters, drop towers and water slides become even more nauseating when users wear headphones that improve the driving experience with VR items.
Immersive Sports Experiences
The use of VR in sports will also skyrocket in the future. VR is already being used to enhance the viewing experience for fans and create realistic training simulations for athletes, and now innovative developers are working on VR-based esports.
Today fans can use VR to watch their favourite football matches from different locations in the stadium (even from the middle of the pitch), and in Formula E they can follow their favourite race cars on the track.
HADO, the world's first physical e-sport, is essentially dodgeball with added virtual elements. Players can meet on real-life courts at 60 Hado arenas in 15 countries. Equipped with virtual energy balls and shields, players attempt to hit the other team with a barrage of energy balls, inflicting as little damage as possible.
The Future Of Entertainment
Virtual reality is unlikely to replace traditional forms of entertainment in the near future, but XR technology will continue to make entertainment more immersive and engaging. This means we will experience more VR entertainment, especially as equipment becomes lighter, better and more affordable.