Hot off the heels of Apple’s 2017 Web Developers Conference (which heavily featured VR), I figured it was a great time to address what so many people have been hesitant to accept: VR is here to stay and it may very well be the next big thing. VR, or virtual reality for those who hate acronyms, is the latest video platform attempting to make a full move into your living room. Much like 3D, VR is a platform that aims to fully immerse you in the content you are experiencing. Here are 4 solid reasons you should start making space on your entertainment stand for a fancy new headset.
(1) Apple has joined the race.
You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy, in all honestly you don’t even have to like the company or its products at all to know that when Apple steps into a market it means two things. First, that product segment, whatever it is, is about to be the next major thing in our world and second, Apple has a strong plan to shake up and eventually dominate that industry. A quick look back in time will turn up quite a few undeniable examples. iPhone, came through and shook up the mobile industry and the Apple Watch relentlessly attacked both the wearables market and the fashion industry at the same time! During the 2017 WDC Apple made it very clear that they understood the future of virtual reality is not as unrealistic as many people on the outer circles of technology believe it to be. Apple typically isn’t the first company to show up to the party, but when they show up they show up strong and they also make sure everyone else wants to be at that party as well.
(2) Playstation VR has sold over 1 million units.
In the world of electronics, I am a gamer first and everything else after. I’m also a tiny, little bit of a PlayStation fanatic. Knowing that it should come as no surprise that I’ll be offloading a few small statistics regarding the platform that currently has the easiest entry point into your home when it comes to VR. Since it’s release in October, with supply constraints, Sony’s PlayStation VR has sold more than 1 million units. For most people who are heavily active in the gaming community that’s pretty easy to understand but can also be seen as pretty insignificant. There are over 50 million PS4’s that have been sold which translates to roughly 1 out of every 50 PS4 owners has purchased a PSVR. However when compared to it’s direct competitor’s (HTC, Oculus, Samsung, to name a few) thats a pretty significant number. Even taken out of that context, 1 million is a very large number. Maybe not for a company that specializes in creating consumer electronics, maybe not for a generation that has become desensitized to hearing numbers larger than 1 million thrown around due to Youtube, but in general it’s a pretty large number. Have you ever seen 1 million of anything in 1 room at the same time? It’s quite a lot.
(3) VR Experience Demos are almost everywhere.
Which brings me to my next point, although not by the millions, the opportunities to experience VR are starting to pop up everywhere. In most cities throughout the world, you can walk into any big box retailer (i.e. Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart) and experience some version of VR. During one of the big festivals in my little hometown of Providence, RI I was able to engage in a VR Experience in a van right down the street from my house. That means that all the people in attendance had the same opportunity and I would love to get the numbers on how many people engaged because that’s what it’s all about. As long as the big companies and indie devs keep finding ways to get people to into a headset, the adoption of VR will be that much faster.
(4) VR is more plausible than AR (for now)
In order for VR to succeed it has to find a way to make itself interesting not just for people play video games, but to the general public as well. That is one area where VR has a strong advantage over Augmented Reality or AR. Right now AR is still to early on in it’s infancy to find itself in the home of anyone who isn’t trying to find a way to become even more immersed in the worlds created by game developers or whose pockets are lined with gold. The VR experience is encompassed inside of a headset, which continue to become more comfortable daily, rather than encompass the entire environment around you which requires a slew of technology that I don’t even fully understand yet. Virtual realityy is a greatt experience for anyone looking to enjoy a story in a completely new way. It makes it possible to put you directly in the middle of a fast furious race or a star wars dogfight and when you’re done you just pop your headset off. AR is exciting but the world just isn’t there yet.
As technology continues to advance at lightning speeds it’s always exciting to have that one new thing that you feel you can count on being a survivor. We all know 4K and HDR are absolutely sticking around just as much as we know smartphones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I really feel like Virtual Reality is going to be the next big thing that brings the world together, even if only to menacingly question that one friend of yours who is extremely slow to adopt any new piece of incredible gear.