Why VR adoption has slowed
Virtual Reality (VR) has quickly become a popular topic to discuss across social media, websites, and office water coolers. Who can blame people? Not only are there a seemingly endless amount of experience for us users to go through, but with top tech companies becoming involved it ends up impacting Wall Street and our finances too. So, as VR has struggled to meet lofty sales expectations set for them, let’s take a deep dive get our feet wet and discuss what is slowing down adoption.
I want it, but do I need it?
Few debate that VR is an interesting technology, however, the average consumer just isn’t as likely to see the need to buy a headset. People often resist adopting new technology because it is still seen as a luxury item. Smartphones are a great example of a technology that was once seen as a luxury item but has transitioned itself to a necessity. As its capabilities improved, their popularity grew as the number of use cases increased. Now it’s hard to live without one – it gives me directions, I can check my email, do online shopping. Shucks I can even watch live sports on it (nothing like watching your team lose on an even smaller screen). While VR won’t be as common as smartphones anytime soon, as more use cases become developed as both consumers and enterprises explore the technology, there will be a shift on the want-need spectrum towards viewing VR as a needed purchase.
Big chunk of change
Fun fact: not a lot of people can afford expensive stuff. VR’s high price point eliminates large groups of the economy that just don’t have the income necessary to afford it. Even for those that do and also view VR as a highly desirable want, it can put an unexpected strain on budgets. Headsets alone run for $500-$800. The crazy part is that doesn’t even include the two other things needed – content and a laptop/computer to power the system. Costs of games vary, and a good gaming laptop can run upwards of $1,000 leaving a cost to consumers of $2,000 to just get started. With VR’s target consumer market people aged 19-34, there’s only so much discretionary income available to spend and it’s tough to be able to afford an Nintendo Switch.
Luckily, there’s good news for everyone – the price will drop. It does with most technology, like TVs (but not iPhones apparently). Google Daydream announced it was coming out with a new headset that requires no external systems, dramatically cutting back on ancillary costs. Also, like anything else, as more hardware competitors come to market expect the prices to continue to drop.
Moving around with it at home
The amount of space needed for a proper VR setup can actually be problematic for some people. You typically need at least 35 square feet to have enough space to move around in, which not everyone has (I’ll admit that I wrote that just to make my point, then I measured the distance between my couch and TV – I do not have enough room). On top of that, cords for the set up can get in the way and be a tripping hazard. Aforementioned Google Daydream will also be saving that problem, as it will be tetherless. Look for this to set a trend for future hardware so now you’ll only have to worry about tripping over your dog.
Oh wow. No way. We’re talking about people getting sick again. Can’t believe we did that. But really, it’s a serious problem. If people try out VR and have a bad experience it’s highly unlikely they’ll make a purchase or even be willing to try it again. On top of that companies who invest in it just won’t get anywhere near its potential ROI.
Design Interactive has been optimizing human performance at ludicrous speed since 1998. We develop innovative, engaging augmented and virtual reality training solutions and create biosignatures of human emotion, cognition and physical state that empower consumers. To learn more about how we can leverage technology to improve your business processes, contact us here.