"Don't let VR go wrong again!" is a blog post you should read right now, because it's by Jacquelyn "Jacki" Morie, a VR pioneer who sees the same mistakes being made by Oculus Rift and other leaders of the VR industry that caused the technology to hit a trough of disillusionment in the early 90s. Part of the problem is a resurgence of breathless headlines like "Could Oculus Rift bring people back from the dead?" (yes, really) which inevitably lead to disaster:
"What sensational headlines like these do is create extremely unreasonable expectations for VR - the same thing that happened towards the end of the 1990s in VR's first popularization," she writes. "When those promises don't pan out, then people are disappointed and things start to falter."
Another part of the problem is a generation gap, because many of today's VR industry leaders were barely around for VR's first wave. (Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey was born in 1992.)
"That's a big part of it," Jacki tells me, "but the other part is people with a long history in film and related media who want to take what they know and ride the VR wave. That is why we have Cinematic VR - which is not really interactive, immersive VR as VR can really be experienced."
Another problem is that the tech press is focused too much on covering venture funding of VR, as opposed to VR innovators: "I'd like to see more people really pushing the envelope on what VR could be," she says. "And I'd like the press to follow those people and their work, rather than just reporting on who got the latest big round of VC financing. VCs are not really investing in the full potential of VR - but on what today's media consumers know and feel comfortable with - just put into a sexy HMD. I don't have high hopes for the press doing that though."
As it happens, Jacki was a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies (at USC) while Palmer Luckey was a student engineer there, but didn't interact much with him directly. She does have advice that Oculus Rift and other VR companies could follow: