Some rivalries are so iconic that it’s hard to imagine a world without them. There’s Kobe and Lebron, Coke and Pepsi, Kanye West and the dude he thinks stole his outfit – who turns out to be his own reflection in the mirror, just to name a few. As serious as the battles between giant athletes, fizzy beverages, and senile rap artists are; they pale in comparison to the animosity raging between North and South Korea.
Here are two independent nations that exist due to an incredibly bloody and contentious military uprising. The only thing these two entities share is a single border known as the Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ), and even this is covered by thousands and thousands of land mines.
The two Koreas have made it perfectly clear that they’d like nothing to do with each other and bringing the pair together is less likely than The Winds of Winter ever actually being released by George R. R. Martin.
Well, start clearing some space on your Kindle because, after a duo of coincidentally timed announcements, it seems that the rival nations can agree on something after all: virtual reality.
North Korea – Sciencing The Science Of VR Science
North Korea has reportedly created a dedicated VR laboratory in its recently completed Sci-Tech Complex. This complex is North Korea’s atom-shaped declaration to the rest of the world that it is indeed a developed nation that loves science and has enough food for all of its citizens.
Whether or not this is true, the complex has been confirmed to have a door marked “Virtual Reality Lab” and a Korean university professor has apparently been inside.
“The complex has laboratories for simulation. For example, the one on the second floor can help ordinary people as we as experts do virtual reality experiments,” Professor Chan-Mo Park, told NK News. “In the lab you see videos that show the virtual reality technology and its application…They said the lab is being used as a virtual laboratory for physics, chemistry and other experiments.”
While North Korea seems determined to weaponize VR headsets (when all they’d really need to do is remove the wrist straps from Vive controllers), South Korea is more interested in the entertainment aspects of the technology.
South Korea – Meet Me In The Bang Room
Business Korea reported yesterday that the first-ever VR powered “Bang Room” will be opening in June in Gangnam Station, Seoul.
Despite what it may sound like, a bang room is in fact not a place where like-minded adults gather to perpetuate our species. It is a term used for gaming parlors where patrons can pay by the hour to rent networked computers.
The VR Bang Room is being opened by WowInsights – an overseas VR franchising company. The space will allegedly grant its customers access to a myriad of VR headsets, including the Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive.
South Korea’s government is also taking notice of VR. The nation’s Ministry of Science, along with other government bodies, is planning to invest $157 million over the next three years into these immersive technologies.
The race is officially on between these two old enemies to see who can achieve the most impressive VR accomplishments. Hopefully this is a competition that leads to more virtual bullets being fired in Hover Junkers, rather than the real things being exchanged across the DMZ.