Sales estimates fall for virtual-reality gear; internet users say they are ‘just not interested’
Virtual reality was supposed to be the next big thing, but headsets haven’t exactly been flying off the shelves. The question is, why?
There were $1.48 billion in VR hardware sales in 2016, according to SuperData Research. That is far from the $12.65 billion the research firm is forecasting for 2020. That estimate has come down, and there is still reason to question whether VR will get there.
In March, digital marketing research firm Thrive Analytics asked the question to internet users who weren’t interested in owning a VR headset. The survey, as summarized by eMarketer, showed many of the expected reasons: the headsets were too expensive, lack of virtual reality content and poor quality of what was out there, and fear of motion sickness.
The biggest chunk, some 53%, said they were “just not interested.” Perhaps actual reality is difficult enough.
Where is the compelling case for a device that blocks out the real world while providing a virtual world, that causes motion sickness in many people? Plus at the current stage of development just doesn’t deliver much beyond niche novelty content. I can see compelling cases for augmented reality using AeroGlass or some similar technology to display information in the eyesight of the user, while still being able to observe the real world. There is even a danger there, as we found out in the military cockpit, too much information and the mind become confused, it was essential to only provide the act on now information. How will the AR device know what information the user really needs at the moment? More work needed before AR devices start flying off the shelf, or they will soon be stuck on the shelves with the VR devices.