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Why hasn't 2016 been the year of VR?

posted Dec 21, 2016, 3:59 PM by Virtual Augmented Reality   [ updated Dec 21, 2016, 4:37 PM ]
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Virtual reality has been called many times the best invention since the smartphone, but if it really is such a big deal then why have there only been about 10 million consumer headsets sold in the "Year of VR"? Many months ago we mentioned that while all these companies such as Google, Facebook, and HTC have released quality headsets.  The problem is that while the hardware is there, the content is not, and content is king.

The lack of content for the VR platform has gotten so critical that HTC has been giving 100 million dollars in funding to VR startups in hopes of creating content for its VR headset, the HTC Vive. Lack of content was a major contributing factor for why Nintendo couldn't get VR started in the 90s with Virtual Boy.  Anecdotally I know many people who are interested in buying VR and some who are even willing to take the $800 punch ($1,500 including the required PC). What is stopping these people from pulling the trigger on VR is that there is simply nothing to do with VR for most people. Sure you can walk on the moon, operate a gun, and then fly in a spaceship, but then what? Most "experiences" for virtual reality at this point are extremely shallow at best with their biggest attraction being the fact that its in VR rather than on a screen. The moment that the selling point of content is the use of the content itself rather than its novelty is the moment that VR will truly take off.

If the year of VR wasn't 2016, then is it 2017? Well Bethesda has announced that Doom VR and Fallout 4 VR will be coming to headsets in 2017. Doom and Fallout 4 are established games that have been successful without relying on the novelty of VR. Two games won't be convincing many people to jump on VR, but this is hopefully just the start of VR. If enough content such as Doom and Fallout 4 are released in 2017 then it definitely will be the year of VR, but at this moment it is impossible to tell.


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