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The Future of Virtual Reality Part3

It’s difficult to estimate what non-PSVR players currently have. Facebook had an idea and implemented it, years ago, it appears, to be nonspecific when talking with regards to the number of VR headsets that were shipped. Ian Hamilton, managing editor of AR/VR news outfit UploadVR, was of this opinion. He felt that this scenario had made it really tough for anybody to evaluate the scale of adoption. Going by a category of Steam users owning VR hardware, a miniscule 1.7% in December, slightly lower after the release of Alyx – Hamilton estimated that were, in a probability, around 2 million VR headsets in regular operation on desktops. Also, he estimated an unknown number, (stating that this was also, likely, in the millions) of stand-alone headsets that weren’t linked to a device. 

In October, consulting organization Activate estimated an eightfold escalation by 2024 in spending within the U.S.A., by customers and organizations on VR and AR technologies.” It is worth observing that there are a plethora of non-gaming applications for VR, VR travel for example, and somewhat dubiously, VR porn. Analysts, however, have stuck to their guns, and have stated that gaming will be the key driver for revenue growth, with recent projections demonstrating international VR-gaming related revenue hitting numbers of 50 billion US$ by 2026 or 2027. That’s only 5—6 years from now. 

Today, however, VR is still a relatively marginalized part of the market, only making 589 million US$ of the 126.6 billion US$ spent on electronic games in the previous year. Analysts are of the opinion that stand alone headsets, for example the Occulus Quest 2, with just a bit of tinkering around, can support any PC VR game sans wires — will drive a majority of the VR uptake from the mainstream. Historically, one of the primary obstacles to growth with regards to virtual reality were the going rates and the complicated nature of ‘tethered’ headsets, and the reality that customers didn’t really want to make payments for content on phone-based VR headsets, like the Samsung Gear VR. Standalone devices have managed to overcome both of these problems, and a steady rise in adoption is expected in the not too distant future.  

Hamilton concurs that wireless headsets have been a blessing to VR gaming, stating that “wires are awful for VR. You get tangled and twisted up and never forget that the wire is there.” The wires need to be done away with in PCVR, (and in consoled-based VR) to increase mass, mainstream adoption. Even when the wires are done away with, the general nature of VR stay much more onerous that that of conventional gaming. Hamilton unfavourably called the Occulus Quest 2 a 299 US$ facebrick, and this severe criticism is of a technology, that’s considered state of the art. Other reviewers and analysts have pointed out that Occulus have made it compulsory for users to logon to the device through their Facebook accounts and for tracking and recording client information. 

Presently, no organization is allocating its resources to go into competition with the Occulus, which has dominion in excess of 51% of the PC VR market according to updated Steam surveys. “I really think a company more focused on a consumer electronics product and infrastructure needs to come along to drive growth.” Cole stated. “Sony and Microsoft have carved out their own nices to concentrate upon, and VR doesn’t get their blood running for the most part. The challenge with competing agains Occulus in the market is that Zuckerburg, and his outfit, have concentrated on producing the product at the cheapest price possible, and henceforth, selling it for cheaper in contrast to competitors. Analysts observe that they have gone with a “make it cheap, and they’ll come strategy.” Opinion currently is that there is a need in the market for a competitor who follows the mantra “make it fun and they will come.” This is a big step that needs to be taken, and not many organizations are willing to go that far.  

Cole still observes that Sony will likely prove to be that competitor, regardless of the console manufacturer’s apparent “it’s all mum” policy regarding road maps and schedules for the next generation of PSVR. Roger adds “VR doesn’t really fit in with Microsoft’s gaming policy of everything being cross platform, on console, Windows, and streamed through the cloud”, so they are not going to concentrate on hardware that needs really distinct gameplay and controls” Roger further adds – “with regards to Playstation, we’re estimating that a successor to the PSVR wont come until at least 2022, or a year down the line. Sony is likely to want for the focus to stay on the PS5, at least for the very near future. Roger further observes that VR is set to be a dominant force in the market based on the early success of original hardware. 

Regardless of which producer gains dominion over market shares, gamification of fitness in a VR setting could become another lucrative industry and pathway to consumer spending. “A 300 US$ Quest 2 headset, and 20$ pm subscription to Supernatural is an amazingly fun way to exercise.”, Hamilton specifies, in addition, he believes that Facebook, and potentially others, companies like Apple will concentrate more on this utilization for VR in the next few years. 

The potential of exerting yourself in a VR environment may be more interesting when progression in technology facilitate hardware with a reduced size and white, more ergonomic shape, like the conceptual Cyberpunk-style design Facebook’s VR Research division posted previous year. Hamilton goes on “When full body movement becomes an integral part of a cost-effective VR headset, we should see social connection through virtual reality turning into a more ubiquitious thing that it is today. Any, and all of these enhancements will appreciate the addressable market for VR.” 

Regardless of how jaw-dropping an advancement in technology VR is, it still costs a lot, is a pain to use, still lonely, and still changing too quickly to be a must-buy product now. What cannot be beat is that first time your get to experience VR, is still so amazing to experience in person that is appears almost to be a given that it will persist and fulfil its potential. “VR has been five minutes away from making some kind of major breakthrough for about 8 years.”, Ben Kuchera from Polygon stated in the previous year. Over those eight years, we’ve witnessed three entire generations of consoles. Hopefully that breakthrough which takes VR mainstream, into every home out there, will come before the fourth generational change rolls along.   



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