Here's the results of last week's survey of 125 New World Notes readers, with nearly 70% of you who read this long-running virtual world blog expressing no interest in buying the top two virtual reality headsets. This doesn't strike me as totally surprising, because even most hardcore gamers, who are VR's first target market, don't seem to be following either device with express fanboy passion. (Quick data point: On Reddit, the Internet's top hangout for core gamers, less than 68,000 are subscribed to the /Oculus subreddit, while nearly 10 million are subscribed to /Gaming.) Also notable that interest in Oculus and Vive are equally split at 8% each.
This isn't to say the 68% simply refuse to buy a VR device at all -- I'd guess that many or most are just choking on the $600 and $800 price points of each system. As Jessica Pixel puts it:
I might buy one or the other, but I'm looking at saving up a little longer for the Vive because of it's external camera for inside-out tracking. It also depends on the software that will be available. If Oculus gets more game support, it might be a better idea to go with that. That being said, it won't be a while before I own anything but a cheap Google Cardboard. This stuff is SO EXPENSIVE.
On the other side of the ledger, veteran VR/VW developer FlipperPA Peregrine makes a good point there:
No offense meant, but I have to chuckle a bit at the "so expensive" price tag. It really isn't. It might be out of our personal budgets, but if you told me you could get a fully immersive VR headset experience for $600 a decade ago? That's half of what I paid for the Indigo sim in 2004, and that was a bargain compared to what sims started selling for soon afterwards! That's the same price as an iPad, which these days, really doesn't seem like a wholly remarkable device. I wrote about the Vuzix VR series a while back, which had a similar price tag but was light years behind what these devices offer: It is an exciting time for VR, even if it is another hype wave!
The real test is the consumer experience and word of mouth traction from the 16% who do buy an Oculus or Vive this year. If it's great, and they rave about it and foist it on their equally impressed friends, we're sure to see sales keep increasing. If not, likely not.
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