Zero Latency is already changing VR gaming as we know it, and it’s just the beginning. Find out more!
Are you familiar with virtual reality (VR)?
This technology advanced very quickly during the last few years and has become a trending technology, especially in the gaming world.
It’s also the current focus of Meta, the recently created parent company of Facebook, which aims to use VR to bring about the metaverse.
Virtual reality is a different and more immersive way to experience the digital world.
Instead of just staring at your flat screen, you can use a VR headset, which is a pair of screens put close to your eyes, which allows you see the 3D digital world as if you were inside it.
And Zero Latency is a step forward in this path.
What is Zero Latency?
Programmers and gamers use the word “latency” to refer to the delay that networks always have.
More specifically, latency is the time for a message to go from one computer to another and then back again. It’s normally measured in microseconds.
Higher latency means a disadvantage in multiplayer games, as it may take more time for your computer to know what is going on than it does for other players, meaning you have less time to react.
Thinking of that, the company “Zero Latency” created an experience in which all of the players are playing close to each other.
This doesn’t really mean that the latency will be zero, as that is impossible, but it is certainly much smaller than usual.
But that’s not all.
It’s also a VR experience, meaning that all of the players will be using VR headsets and equipment, and will have a space in which they can safely walk around as if they were walking inside the video-game.
This is called “free-roam VR”.
Why are people interested in it?
VR itself is already an immersive experience.
Your eyes are locked inside a virtual realistic world and your only contact with reality is the ground beneath your feet.
It redefines gaming by improving not only immersion, but also by using innovative hand-held controllers and creating many more possibilities.
However, there are also some limitations.
To get the fully immersive experience of walking around in this virtual world, you need the real life space available to be able to walk around, something most people don’t have.
So one of the most immersive aspects of VR ends up lost, and it becomes a game console with a different kind of screen.
Zero Latency changes that by setting up the experience around being able to freely roam in your world with your friends. To do that, in your play session you have:
- An empty warehouse to walk around;
- The ability to play along with up to 7 other players;
- A VR headset;
- A gun-shaped VR controller;
- A computer backpack, responsible for running the game and rendering it to the headset;
- Safety mechanisms to prevent you from hitting the walls or other players.
One of the advantages of this is that you also don’t have wires holding you down.
While some kinds of games can be run directly inside the headset’s internal computer, not all games can, especially heavier and more realistic ones.
To run these games, you have to keep the headset connected to your computer through a cable.
This means both that you won’t be able to walk very far depending on the cable, and that you will be pushing it a lot by accident, because you can’t see it. And this can damage the computer and the headset.
In this kind of free-roam VR, the computer sits in a backpack behind the player, so the cable doesn’t need to be long and there is no way for it to get in your way.
The company currently offers only 8 games, all of which are focused on cooperation.
Most are designed for teenagers and adults, having themes such as science fiction and survival from zombie invasions, but they also have more family friendly games.
Is it safe?
The company teamed up with Elasticsearch to devise their safety measures.
Elasticsearch is a company that specializes in data gathering and analysis, and devised a way to gather real time telemetry from the players’ computers.
This way, Zero Latency was able to keep track of how their systems are doing, examining if there are cases or low battery, malfunction, damages or overheating, and also keep track of the players’ positions.
If they detect that they are getting too close to each other or to a wall, they can send a signal to their headset to let them know.
While you are able to see other players’ characters inside the game, this prevents them from bumping into each other while walking backwards, which also prevents damage to their computers.
How can I play in Zero Latency?
To play a session, you have to check if it’s available in your country or a country near, and book it in advance over at their website.
The company originated in Australia, but has since expanded to 25 other countries, such as:
- The United States;
- The United Kingdom;
- And many others.
Sessions are surprisingly inexpensive, but they only last about 30 minutes.
Considering the kind of experience that this can give you, we can also expect the number of countries and venues to expand very quickly during the next few years.
So, very soon there might be a venue coming near your home for you play with your friends.
Zero Latency is bringing us the full VR experience. It’s helping to bring about a new and safe way of playing games with friends. It’s not widely available, but it’s quickly expanding, and new companies may appear to try to bring a similar experience to people too.
How long will it take until VR becomes a part of our lives?