In June 2012, Oculus VR, LLC was founded. Based in California, US, it was formed as a virtual reality technology company, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of their proposed virtual reality headset device. The company announced that backers who pledged $300 or more would be “rewarded” with the first development release of the headset, which was shipped to them in March 2013 (although the original date was December 2012). The intended amount Oculus wanted to raise was $250,000, but ended up raising over $2.4 million. Thus began the new wave of virtual reality.
Will virtual reality succeed? Simply, no. There have been numerous attempts throughout the history of technology to bring virtual reality to the forefront of consumers’ minds, but as of yet, nobody has managed to change the way we see the virtual world.
There are a number of reasons why virtual reality won’t succeed, ranging from the initial outlay consumers have to put down on top of the device that they have paired up to their headset, to the distinct lack of computer game titles being developed, which will primarily be what the largest proportion of users will be buying their headset for. Not many people will be casually spending hundreds of dollars to experience the latest introduction to virtual reality. Especially when there are the likes of the Google Cardboard, which essentially gives users a VR experience, albeit an extremely limited and featureless one, for just $15.
The term “virtual reality” is thought to have come about in the late 1980s, with the earliest products being the Dataglove and the EyePhone, both being sold at astronomical prices that very few could afford, though they were more just showcases of a technology far ahead of its time, and not yet realized. The 90s saw many attempts but the technology was simply not there yet to make it work, whilst the noughties saw some game changing innovation, with motion sensing coming to the forefront of the gaming industry. But why hasn’t VR worked before? And are these the same reasons as to why it won’t work now?
There is no doubt that recent innovations in technology will propel virtual reality (VR) into many homes around the world in the next few years, but that same technology will not be able to break into mainstream everyday use, and will be left behind as an unnecessary periphery item to gather dust, just like its predecessors.