The Evolution of Virtual Reality: Past, Present, and Future

| Updated on March 4, 2024
evolution of vr

Have you ever wanted to experience something impossible in the real world? With virtual reality (VR), you can! This immersive technology lets you explore and get exposed to anything you can imagine, from flying like a bird to traveling through space. 

By transporting you to imagined worlds, it has opened up new opportunities in gaming, entertainment, education, training, therapy, and much more. 

But how did we get here? That’s precisely what we’ll uncover in today’s article as we embark on a journey through the past, present, and future of it. 

Ready for an exhilarating virtual ride?

What Is Virtual Reality?


Virtual reality creates a simulated experience that fully immerses you in a computer-generated world. Unlike simply playing a video game or reading a book, VR makes you feel physically present in a different reality. 

It achieves this through technologies like headsets, which replace the physical world with a completely visual one, enabling adventures that would be impossible in real life.

Not too long ago, it existed solely within the realms of science fiction movies. Today, it stands as one of the fastest-growing technologies. But how did it all begin? Let’s delve into that.

AR revenues rank

Did You Know?
According to studies, AR revenues raked in $1.4 billion in 2020!

The Concept of Virtual Reality

Ivan Sutherland

In 1968, Ivan Sutherland unveiled what is often hailed as the first head-mounted augmented reality display, known as “The Sword of Damocles.” 

This groundbreaking invention laid the groundwork for the virtual reality devices we use today.

Over the years, technological advancements have propelled VR forward, with various experts offering their interpretations of the concept. 

While Fuchs and Bishop defined VR as real-time interactive graphics with  3D models, Gigante described it as an illusion of participation in a synthetic environment

Regardless of the definitions, VR hinges on the integration of 3D models, head-tracker displays, and sound to deliver an immersive, multi-sensory experience.

When it comes to its applications, companies like Sega and Nintendo dabbled in its gaming systems during the 1980s and 1990s, albeit with limited success. It wasn’t until the 2010s that companies like Oculus introduced high-quality VR headsets, leveraging robust graphics and motion tracking technology for a more immersive exposure.

However, it’s essential to note that the quality of the contact and simulation varies depending on the methodologies employed, giving rise to different types of virtual reality exposures.

The Types Of Virtual Reality

There are primarily 5 types of virtual reality exposures:

Fully Immersive

 Fully Immersive VR

Utilizing head-mounted displays, this type surrounds users in a 360° environment with high-resolution visuals and spatial audio, enabling natural interaction and movement within the online space through tracking sensors.


Semi-Immersive VR

This type utilizes large projection screens and 3D graphics to partially immerse users in a virtual simulation, often relying on powerful computers and directional sound systems to replicate the environment.


Displaying a 3D virtual environment on traditional devices like computer monitors, this type allows users to interact using keyboards, mice, or controllers, commonly used for gaming, design previews, and data visualization.


 Collaborative VR

While connecting multiple users within the same virtual space in real-time, regardless of physical location, this type enables teams to communicate and collaborate on designs, models, data visualizations, or games.

VR/AR will be mainstream

Did You Know?
In 2020, According to Perkins Coie, 37% of businesses think that VR/AR will be mainstream in two to five years, 25% within 2 years, 17% in the next 5–8 years, 15% in less than 2 years, and 6% in 8–10 years.

Augmented Reality

This type overlays computer-generated information and graphics onto the real physical environment, which can be experienced through devices like smartphones, tablets, and optical head-mounted displays. It is often used for navigation, marketing, industrial training, and visualization.

Now that we know how these different kinds came into the picture over the years, let’s have a look at how it looks in the present.

The Present State Of Virtual Reality

 Present state of vr

Virtual reality has undergone a remarkable transformation from the bulky, uncomfortable headsets of the past. Early VR hardware was expensive and cumbersome, but the modern version boasts sleek designs and sensor arrays that enable intuitive movement within virtual environments.

Today, major tech companies are working to make VR hardware more affordable, comfortable, and accessible, driving its adoption across industries like healthcare, education, engineering, and entertainment. 

A report by Finance Online indicates that VR is being utilized across the globe for various purposes, with an estimated 41 million VR devices expected to be in use by 2025, underscoring the technology’s promise and potential.

Key virtual reality trends

With the stage set for VR to become a transformative and mainstream platform, you might be curious about how it will shape the future, though. 

Let’s explore some upcoming trends that offer a glimpse into the exciting possibilities ahead.

The Future Of Virtual Reality 

As we peer into the future of VR, several trends are poised to redefine the virtual landscape:


Interest in the  metaverse will spread with the growing buzz around new VR tech like Meta’s Quest Pro headset. Online tools enabling remote collaboration and meetings will gain traction in the corporate world as well. 

Fun Fact!                       
 Jaron Lanier, an American computer scientist, and pioneer of virtual reality, founded VPL Research, Inc., which created the first data gloves and virtual reality headsets!

Hyper Realistic Experiences

The future of virtual reality will increasingly lean towards multi-sensory, hyper-realistic experiences. It won’t just be about what we see, but also what we can touch, smell, and even taste.

Remote Education Transformation

VR-based learning

VR will shatter traditional learning boundaries. Classrooms will be transported to different eras/planets, making lessons more engaging and easier to comprehend. Its surgical simulations will also enable risk-free medical training, reshaping traditional education practices.

AI-Powered Personalization

AI will be increasingly intertwined with VR, analyzing user behaviors to adapt virtual environments to individual needs. This integration will be instrumental in creating responsive, dynamic online worlds.

Social VR Platforms

social VR platform

The future of VR won’t just be individual experiences. Social VR platforms that allow people to interact, host events, and play games together may become more user-friendly and community-focused with time.

With that, we conclude this article.

To Sum Up

From basic VR headsets offering escapism to advanced systems enabling remote collaboration, virtual reality has come a long way. 

Today, it delivers immersive exposures and facilitates enhanced training, laying the groundwork for the metaverse. Tomorrow, the integration of AI and multi-sensory technology promises even more visceral, responsive environments. 

As the boundaries between physical and digital blur, the possibilities of extended reality seem boundless. How far will VR take us? The journey has just begun.

Also Read: How to Choose the Right Router For Your VR Setup

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