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Are Virtual Runners set to be the Next Big Thing?

Virtual Runners – Nearly every industry in the world is looking at ways to incorporate virtual reality, a technology which is expected to take the planet by storm in the next few years. Indeed, projections suggest that VR could spike massively in 2023, when it will be worth $14.8 billion worldwide.

Developers in the fitness sector have been working on VR improvements to traditional gym equipment, with early VR running machines receiving rave reviews from those who have tested them. If these machines manage to go mainstream, they could help a vast number of people develop a passion for running.

Of all the fitness pursuits, getting into running can be one of the hardest things to do. Many runners have, at some point, expressed frustration with running. But we all know that once you get hooked and your body is fully prepared, it can be a wonderful feeling. The hardest part is actually starting, and the first few grueling weeks of building up your fitness and stamina so you can achieve a good distance without collapsing in a heap on the floor. It’s during this stage that those nagging thoughts of boredom, and whether it is all actually worth it, start creeping in.

For new runners, VR running machines could be the ideal way to get into the pastime. For people whose only option is to work out in a gym on a treadmill with no scenery, the virtual environment gives them something interesting to look at while running as well as a more clear sense of the distance they have covered. Some games like Sprint Vector even mix things up so that users vary the types of fitness activity they do. In the offering from Survios, which is currently in beta, users have the chance to jump, fly, and climb along with the usual running.

This kind of immersive experience, which puts users right there in the thick of it, is going to be prevalent in nearly every industry moving forward. The iGaming sector, for instance, has constantly strived to think of ways to bring players closer to the action. At online casino LeoVegas, for instance, there are live game offerings that make use of live streaming tech to offer an immersive land-based casino experience. In the future, players could be sitting in virtual casinos. On PlayStation, there are more and more titles like Batman: Arkham VR that make use of the immersive PlayStation VR technology.

Equipment that allows users to run and move in VR worlds is probably too expensive for most end users to have in their homes at the moment. The Virtuix Omni, for instance, is priced at over $699, and that’s only for the basic equipment. However, it could be an option for gyms to install, and may even be used as a unique selling point to attract new customers.

Virtual running machines are a novel idea but are perhaps too pricey to enter the mainstream right now. If gyms begin to install the machines they could have a chance of becoming popular. Realistically, for them to be ubiquitous at fitness outlets, it is likely going to take another five years at least.

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