Consumers are seeing more and more virtual reality (VR) headsets come onto the market. The most popular of these range in price from about $15 for Google Cardboard to $799 for HTC Vive. Even with all the advancements that virtual reality has gone through in the last year, it still has not reached the widespread appeal that many tech tycoons have hoped for. Why?
MORE THAN GAMING
Virtual reality has its roots embedded in the gaming industry and this has been one of the things holding it back from the masses. It is still looked upon as being for the niche gaming market, for serious gaming only, when that is simply not true. Much of this is due to press highlighting VR’s gaming capabilities, meant to drum up excitement for the new technology, but is instead limiting its appeal. More should be done to advertise that virtual reality has a place in every market. This is already starting to be done. The sports world it doing its part to promote VR by live streaming the NCAA Final Four in virtual reality. The movie industry is also starting to utilize virtual reality by coming out with VR trailers for “The Martian, “Assassin’s Creed”, and “Independence Day”. If more big-name markets sound off on their beneficial uses of VR, more people will hopefully follow.
Along with expanding people’s views on the uses of VR, the amount of content available for VR needs to be expanded. While most VR headsets come with pre-loaded games, a user can easily run through this content in very little time. Once that happens they are forced to download more, but there is only a limited amount of interesting content out there. One reason for the shortage could be because virtual reality content takes extensive time to create, so VR users are going through it faster than companies can put it out. VR companies need to focus on creating more VR games, yes, but also more educational VR applications, more before-you-buy VR experiences, and virtual entertainment. When the supply of good content options keeps pace with the demand of VR content by consumers, virtual reality will start edging its way into a sustained part of our lives.
Though VR headsets can be comfortable, with their adjustable head straps and snug fit, the same cannot be said of the overall VR experience. Many of the high-end headsets come with wires and hand controllers, taking away from the overall experience. Plus, even if you outfit your headset with a wireless adapter, if you do not have a sprawling open space, you will run into your pet or furniture. Another drawback of the virtual reality experience is the sensory issues. Many Google Cardboard users complain about getting motion sickness from the latency effect caused by a slow VR display refreshing its screen images. Google has taken note of the problem and has stared improving the Cardboard’s software and adding more sensors to hopefully resolve this issue.
The other main sensory problem is the impact that VR systems have on our eyes. VR headsets have been known to cause eyestrain and fatigue after long uses. That is why Oculus recommends that Rift and other VR users take breaks from their headsets after 30 minutes of use. To become more mainstream, VR needs to fit better into our lives. It is up to the VR manufacturers to come up with a virtual reality experience that will fit seamlessly into our daily lives and actually improve it. Virtual reality has made huge progress in the last year, and once the last kinks are worked out, VR will inch towards becoming a staple in human life.
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