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Wednesday, January 13, 2016


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I predict a niche future for VR until it plays with the devices most users use regularly. That could include rigs for gaming consoles.

Most of my Millennial students tote Macs, and even the minority (about 10% on my campus) with Windows PCs use a laptop. When I poll them about future trends in computing, they think that the phone and tablet will converge and no one will bother with even laptops in a few years. None--zero, zip, nada--own a desktop of any sort. I suspect they are premature about the demise of laptops. SSDs and other advances make them lighter and longer-lived.

I've been less puzzled by this trend among Millennials than by my 30 and 40-something friends who no longer use their "computers" much. Most of their non-work interaction with technology is via phone.

I'd say VR must play with a laptop for now, and play well with an ordinary one including those running the Mac OS. That's been the same problem even cross-platform SL has had. I've had good luck on a variety of Mac laptops, but there is a real performance hit for gaming within SL.


http://store.steampowered.com/stats/ is more important than what someone notices 18 year olds are carrying into Literature class. (125+ million Steam users and 10+ million concurrency)

And PC sale numbers aren't the same as PC ownership numbers. We don't have to replace our PCs every quarter, or as frequently as tablets and phones. Also you'll find few who sit around comparing their phone, tablet, PC and TV and obsessing about which is the future as if only one or a couple can be owned.

Sure, some people only owned PCs in the past to check email and now that they can do it on their phone, they might not buy a new PC anytime soon. We're talking about VR though, where gamers are the top target, and Windows PC gaming is huge and growing.

zz bottom

When ones get's old and eyes cry for rest, nothing like a 27' screen.

metacam oh

PC sales slip because they are built much better these days you do not have to buy a new one every year let alone every 5 years. Does not confirm a mobile driven future. Use your noggin.

Wagner James Au

I don't need to use my noggin, I have a smartphone. :) Even if PCs don't need to be replaced so often, we would more likely see flat growth, as opposed to consistently declining growth. Also, old PCs are even less likely to be compatible with Oculus.

Steam is basically the entire userbase of hardcore PC gamers, and 125M is a niche compared to 2B smartphone owners and growing quickly. And even a lot of PC gamers are complaining about the Rift's high hardware reqs (let alone its $599 price tag, which they could use to upgrade their graphics card instead.)

Amanda Dallin

PCs are a mature market much like refrigerators or dryers. My 3 year old PC is only slightly if any behind one I could buy today. There is no need to buy a computer as often as there used to be.

Wireless phone technology is at least perceived to be advancing much faster. Phones also wear out much faster. My current phone does everything I need it to do but I'll have to replace it soon because the battery only last about half a day and cannot be easily replaced. The perceived cheapness of phones due to the their being subsidized by wireless providers also lends to them being viewed by the end consumers as cheap and almost disposable.

Full sized screens and keyboards are far too useful to go away but as technology advances, something else will develop. Maybe a portable device that ties into a main system at home and work. Their getting close but not there yet.

Metacam Oh

Hamlet, I can only speak for most of the people I know and myself, if you analyzed most of our buying habits the PC purchases have dwindled. My office computer is over 10 years old, yet at my office I sit on a PC all day, not a smart phone.

At home I haven't bought a new PC in probably 8 years.

In that time though Ive probably bought a tablet, and upgraded my iphone several times

but my PC usage hasn't declined at all, I just havent had any need to buy a new one. I also can upgrade it by buying a part and installing it.

PC is still going strong in my life, but by all statistical purchasing stats would make you think I just use mobile.

Dwindling PC purchases does not equal dwindling PC usage

Dusky Jewell

I haven't purchased PC parts in 4 years, I upgrade every 5 years, I am an avid PC gamer, and there are billions of PC gamers. Most of us build our PCS, and swap out parts for upgrades. I haven't purchased a pre-built PC in 15 years.

The desktop computer user is going nowhere. I will never play RPG and MMO games on my phone or tablet. I am not going to go blind and turn into a pair of thumbs to keep up with the mobile market. Any VR business that ignores the PC gamer is doomed to fail.

Where is Iris? Did I miss a goodbye post? What happened to Canary Beck? She hasn't been seen on here since her introduction. You need someone who is still reporting from within SL.


"125M is a niche compared to 2B smartphone owners and growing quickly"

There's technical requirements, Hamlet. It's not just an arbitrary decision to choose to go after 100 million PC gamers vs. the 7 billion human population.

In the future when the Rift doesn't need external hardware and operating systems to tether to, I'm sure it'll be completely standalone, and not trade being tethered to PC to being tethered to a phone or tablet, so not sure why phones are in the discussion in the first place.

Also, calling a 125 million user market niche...in what way? Exactly what kind of sales of the Rift were you expecting? Let's say it has iPad levels of success, that means it'd take YEARS to fill a market of 125 million users (which is still growing).

Let's be whacky and say the Rift will sell 20 million units a year and excuse the fact they're able to sell upgraded versions to the same market repeatedly every 2-3 years, and that in 5 years that market might be 200-300 million users in size. They have 5 years to figure out how to get into a bigger market with wild iPad levels of success.

Anyway this post is just sensationalism. The day you stop covering "the metaverse", MMOs, PC games altogether, Second Life, Sansar and the like, and instead stuff like Blocksworld and Candy Crush Saga, I'll believe your conviction that mobile is the one and only future rather than an accompanying present.

Bet your blog on it or shush. I look forward to your all-PC related articles.

Wagner James Au

"Exactly what kind of sales of the Rift were you expecting?"

The kind of sales that the CEO of Rift himself says they're aiming for -- the kind that get us to a billion users:


"This is going to be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR," he told attendees... "Do you want to build a platform that has a billion users on it, or only 10, 20, or 50 million?" asks Iribe, noting that dedicated game systems don't sell nearly as well as mobile devices in the grand scheme of things.


There's not 1 billion iOS users in the world. You're expecting Oculus VR to be twice as big as Apple in short order apparently. Might wanna manage your expectations.

In the meantime their 100+ million and growing PC targeted market is sizeable enough to be plenty profitable.

Tim Hawkins

VR will definitely the power driver for PC games in future but I do not see it coming in the next 10 years minimum.

One huge factor would be the cost which is still a huge stumbling block for consumers whom wished to get their hands on on.


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