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Virtual reality offers youngsters more than just gaming

( Xinhua )

Updated: 2016-05-30

Virtual reality offers youngsters more than just gaming

An early adopter takes hands-on with the shooting game named "VR Shoot" that powered by SweetTech's "room-scale tracking" solution at the China (Beijing) Attractions Expo 2016 held in Beijing, March 15, 2016. [Liu Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn]

GUIYANG - Xiong Qineng likes to shop for virtual reality (VR) gadgets but online he can only buy from overseas vendors.

"I bought two VR devices -- one was by Google and the other was another foreign brand. I hope domestic shops will start to stock similar items," he said.

Xiong attended the Big Data summit in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou province, over the weekend, and had the chance to experience lots of different applications of VR by Chinese and foreign companies.

Wang Jiping, a VR specialist with the International Data Corp (IDC), said stores that offer VR experiences, mostly gaming, started to crop up across the country last year. Many advances are happening in this exciting sector.

"Although there are not that many VR products available at the moment, we see a lot of interest in the potential of VR," he said.

Through goggles or optic devices, VR fans are transported to fantasy worlds. At a popular shopping mall in Guizhou, a VR gaming store has a virtual roller coaster ride for 40 yuan -- it is a hit with the young, who are more than happy to queue up for the "ride."

Yuan Dong, of HTC Vive, said that since last year, the company has opened 17 VR experience stores across China.

"A great many companies are exploring VR, and some of the technology is actually quite advanced," he said.

The VR experience extends further than the world of gaming; it also has been used in training and education, tourism, medical services, as well as media and entertainment, said Wang.

"Teachers can use VR to show the night sky and illustrate changes in the galaxy. VR can bring tourists face to face with, say, a terracotta warrior, and doctors will be able to simulate surgery with VR, which will help them prepare for operations on patients," he said.

"Chinese VR technology has only just started to take shape, but it has great potential," he said.

Global VR and related industries are likely to be worth $80 billion by 2020, said Zhou Weizhi, of NVDIA, a US-headquartered visual computing company.

VR will also spur advances to PCs, headsets, furniture and other industries, he said.

"Usually to run VR, you need a high-spec computer. The excitement it brings is usually worth the investment," Xiong Qineng said.

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