Does that sound attractive to you? Not to me. I already spend too much time staring at screens. Don't you? Doesn't everybody?
Indeed, I spent half a day trying out VR at various company offices in Silicon Valley, exercising my prerogative as a journalist to get to try the next new thing, researching an article that I swear I'm going to write any day now. It was fun, even impressive, but nothing that made me say I had to have the technology for myself right now.
Not a Bit Dorky
The author trying VR. A lot of fun, but not life-changing.
The second article comes from technology blogger Robert Scoble. He's a VR enthusiast -- matter of fact, he's "entrepreneur in residence" at Upload, a VR company -- as well as being a longtime tech blogger.
Scoble says: "Over the past two days I've talked to more than 1,500 people and only about eight in my audiences had purchased either an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Keep in mind these are rich people, VCs, execs, programmers, people who can afford to attend an expensive conference."
Scoble's experience proves that, even among the very rich who can afford to spend $1,500 on a VR rig the way you or I might buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, nobody's interested in spending the money. It proves there is very little demand for VR, even now in the early days, despite the hype.
At least, that's how I see it, and I think that's how any reasonable person would see it. Scoble disagrees. He sees all those people not interested in VR as opportunities.
The third article comes from tech journalist Greg Kumparak, who is helping build a VR test lab for TechCruch and "spent more time in a VR headset than anyone who isn't building VR stuff should have at this early point."
He recites a litany of problems with VR: Underwhelming games, neck strain from wearing the headset all day, a ring around your eyes and nose that persists when you take off the headset and, yes, isolation:
...using VR when you know someone else is home but not in the same room is... distracting. It can be hard to get the attention of someone when they're in VR, so I'm constantly expecting someone to tap my shoulder and scare the hell out of me. I keep my phone in my pocket and ask people to text me when they need my attention. If you're thinking, "Well, that's weird" -- yes, yes it is. There should probably be a better solution for this.
I'll let the dog know she should text me when she wants to play.
Kumparak isn't down on VR -- his article includes a litany of positives as well as the gripes. But still it leaves me feeling that this thing is going nowhere.
Or, to be precise: It will be a niche product. Like Second Life, which is still around, and profitable -- how many 17-year-old privately held tech startups can say that? -- and attracts about a million users worldwide. That's not the world-changing Google-class numbers predicted for virtual worlds during the boom, but it ain't a mom-and-pop bodega either.
Likewise, VR will find its niche, among gamers, people using it in simulations or telepresence, and enthusiasts willing to pay the financial and lifestyle costs of using the technology.
But VR won't be for everyone.
What does this mean to service providers? It means they don't need to rip-and-replace their networks to accommodate the bandwidth and latency requirements of VR apps. VR isn't the next big thing. It's a fad, like hoverboards.
But SPs shouldn't ignore VR either, because there are business opportunities even in a fad. Get in early, add luster to your reputation for developing innovative technologies and get out while it's still hot.
— Mitch Wagner, , West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.