Over the past year or so we have had a number of new VR devices flood the market ranging from the top of the range Oculus Rift all the way to the budget Google Goggles. It seems that the largest companies have started to get behind the technology and a push in new devices has gripped the market. Closely linked to the gaming industry, companies such as Sony with their PlayStation VR have started to catch up to Oculus and HTC in VR headset sales due to their belief in the longevity of the VR gaming shift.
Samsung has gripped the mobile VR market with both hands and has done extremely well with their Samsung Gear device.This allows customers who already have a Samsung smartphone turn their phones into fully working VR headsets at a fraction of the price of buying a fully incorporated device. The question still remains though, is this a fad, or is it here to stay?
The VR device market is becoming massively varied with a split between stand-alone products that work with PC’s and gaming consoles and devices that are smartphone dependent. The biggest difference between the two is the cost of the product. As can be imagined the smartphone compatible market is able to sell their devices for a lot cheaper due to using smartphone capabilities to act as the screen and power most of the technology.
These are cheaper ways to experience VR – around $130 but they are in no way as immersive. The top of the range devices such as PSVR, HTC and Oculus Rift provides a much better experience with highly developed headsets. They focus on comfort and cutting edge display to create a flawless experience but at a cost. These devices are in no way cheap and can put you out of pocket by $800. At these prices, there’s no happy medium for consumers that want to play their favorite video games on a half decent device without paying through the roof for it.
If you happen to have the perfect setup and money is not a hold back then you would expect to be able to experience a large selection of games and apps right? Not exactly, the market does contain enough titles that really grip you and keep your attention for more than an hour’s play time. As with most new additions to technology we are all excited to try it out and jump on a new game however after a few plays it becomes a bit boring.
A great example of this was the Xbox Kinect that was mandatory when you purchased an Xbox one console. Microsoft had to alter their marketing strategy and allow consumers to purchase the console without the Kinect due to people seeing worth for the added cost. We are at a similar stage with VR gaming currently as the device is only as good as the content you can use it on.
Is VR a Fad, or is it here to stay? In short yes, VR still has a long way to come but the ability to improve almost every sector is clearly apparent. If we do not see VR used in the entertainment industry we will certainly see it used in some form somewhere. In terms of gamin and app use the market needs developers to believe in the future of VR and start to release titles with longevity that make VR our first port of call for entertainment rather than a fancy gimmick.