With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of abating and many thousands of people currently stuck at home in self-isolation, it’s easy to assume that travel is something which is decidedly off the table for the time being. However, just as apps like Zoom are facilitating work meetings and family get-togethers from home, the VR and gaming industries have more than a few options for people stuck at home who otherwise want to get out and about.
VR Tours, Interactive Experiences & Open Worlds
In the last few years, VR technology has grown rapidly from an expo gimmick to an entire industry. While most media focuses on its developments in gaming, VR has also been adopted by medical education programs, senior care initiatives, and tourism projects. If you have access to a VR headset, the costs of which are now much more affordable than a few years ago, you have access to a wealth of virtual experiences. When it comes to “travel from home,” one option which you may not be aware of are VR tours.
While you may not be able to visit them in person, many museums and galleries now offer virtual tours, whether through 360-degree videos or full VR immersion. The Louvre, the British Museum, the Guggenheim; all offer some form of virtual tour, while other major landmarks may also offer virtual options. New York’s Central Park, for example, offers stay-at-home travellers the option of online tours. If you’d prefer to visit somewhere you couldn’t normally go in-person, experiences like Titanic VR may be worth a look. Developed by Immersive VR Education, Titanic VR allows VR users to go on a virtual tour of the famous cruise ship… and that’s just one of the VR experiences on the market right now.
Over in the realm of gaming, the popularity of open world games and simulators has led to a crowded market of titles. One noteworthy example in this context is Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. That game’s painstakingly accurate recreation of ancient Greece is so precise that the game has its own Education Mode, featuring dozens of historical tours through the cities and monuments of its open world. Whether historically-themed or not, video game maps in many open world titles can be a sight to behold given the level of graphics technology these days.
The World Health Organisation is currently partnering with the gaming industry for #PlayApartTogether; a public awareness campaign promoting gaming as a healthy social activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s worth remembering that “gaming” isn’t all Call of Duty and Fortnite – gaming & VR are increasingly catering to wider audiences with varying tastes. Although everybody’s travel plans may currently be on hold, that doesn’t mean being stuck at home has to be boring!