Even though VR gets a lot of attention lately, it still is not something people use massively. Virtual reality has been around for a while or since Oculus made it possible to strap your phone on your head. It debuted in 2016 but just recently gained popularity and seems like the tracktion is now picking up as there are more VR games and movies published now than ever before, and more people are looking for dedicated VR headsets for movies, chat, or games.
VR headset is not a household item by any means, and not everyone can afford to have the necessary equipment. Therefore, it makes sense to take a look what are the reasons why VR is not a mainstream item yet, and when it will become one.
VR is still a niche
Many factors can decide if a genre or console will get popular, like the Wii, which was a gimmick meant for casual gamers that later transitioned into the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. Because it was focusing on casual gamers, The Switch gained its popularity, and because Xbox and Playstation 4 users were searching for a secondary system. The Switch doesn’t need to compete with other systems, and there is no need for it to invest in better graphics. Its niche is fulfilled.
VR requires a large audience that sponges off the success of some previous products. The problem here is that VR is quite new. People just started to understand VR because of the media exposure it is getting. Still, the cultural consciousness is not optimized enough, in a way, it is a dead-end project.
VR is still quite expensive
If you want to experience the VR you can choose Oculus Quest 2, which is $400-$500, or the Playstation VR, which nowadays is $300. This means the VR small niche is split in two, and there is the fact that VR headsets are the accessory for an existing product like a console or a PC, which will cost you extra hundreds of dollars. We are not saying that there aren’t people who have had or will buy these two products to experience VR. We only say the customer base for VR is rather small, not enough to sustain this genre.
VR’s hardware will get cheaper over time. Even now, we can notice some of the prices dropping. Also, there are several headsets on the market that cost less than $50.
Those who have adopted the VR earlier will move on to a better version, and those who are a bit indecisive will buy the older versions. This means the newer VR products will go through a period with little sales until the new releases come and they become outdated, which will make their price drop. VR needs to become more affordable, or it won’t last long.
The VR concept is still awkward
People have enjoyed sci-fi novels because they give you a chance to escape reality and step into some other worlds. Their concept was ranging from entering into a VR room or a sensory deprivation tank by hooking up wires, and you fall unconscious. Today we see that the VR requires you to strap a big piece of plastic onto your head while you sit or stand in your room, hoping you don’t break anything while moving around.
Living in a small house and small rooms means there is little chance that you won’t accidentally break or knock something over while you play some virtual reality game. You cannot do this outside because who knows where you will end up. The Virtusphere can help you walk around safely while being in VR, but people are not very interested in buying this product. Not to mention the nausea people experience from using the VR headsets as the Switch from reality to VR is a bit huge. There is the hope that the VR hardware will become more accessible and comfortable over time, as was the case for many other products.
What VR needs to do?
Many believe what virtual reality technology needs is its headsets to become effortless to put on, like putting sunglasses on, and also need to become lighter. Also, an option to turn the view from cloudy VR to transparent reality instantly is much needed. The same option is also needed for the audio. Users should be able to put the headsets on with ease and dive into immersive virtual reality and also be able to come back to reality without any issues. Some headsets try to make this option possible, but they are still far from some breakthrough.
What is necessary is a sort of a plateau where the virtual reality will become sufficiently good for most of the users, without giving them a chance to start listing things they hoped to be offered after only a few minutes of using the headset. That plateau also needs to last sufficiently long so that people won’t fear that their hardware will become obsolete in the near future. Just like with buying any other technology piece. You can buy a TV set for 50 dollars and 10.000 dollars, luckily there is the middle ground where most people will buy a TV set that is not expensive but offers everything they need. This is what VR technology is missing at the moment.
When VR technology finds a way to make an effortless drift from reality to VR world and back, the headsets must not cause pressure on the user’s head and make it good enough to fit in someone’s life. We are not saying that engineers are not working on these issues, but it needs to happen soon.
No question that VR is an awesome concept, and it shows the potential to go a long way. We have reached a point where we enjoy getting traumatized by horror games and losing ourselves in imaginative worlds for hours and hours. This technology has still not become mainstream because it lacks convenience and their customer base is rather small compared to their competitors. No doubt there is a market for VR technology as it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. But to make it available and popular like a basic phone app, it will take a lot of good marketing, a lot of time, and a lot of money. Hopefully, we will see VR’s glorious rise as soon as possible.