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Tuesday, July 28, 2020


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camilia fid3lis nee Patchouli Woollahra

This is unfortunately where bigger VR companies like Facebook-backed Oculus may win the day -

all they need to do is to work on the capability to self-destruct VR headsets, continue to seek reductions in the cost of producing their gear, and push a massive effort to get their gear into the hands of potentially interested parties on something akin to a 'shareware' basis:

provide a taster of the most popular apps on their platform, on a limited timer, say two weeks to a month after initial bootup, after which users will need to pay the full price of the headset to continue its use or wind up with a brick that does nothing. Charge a small amount on each trial, sufficient to cover postage and acceptable wear and post-return sanitization/recycling.

This will sadly mean a major spend into the hole for many companies initially as VR headsets, even the cheaper WindowsMR-kind rather than the premium I/O offered by Oculus Quest or SteamVR-native headsets, aren't cheap.

Expect further losses as less-honorable parties attempt to hack their way through the bricking of the headset or even break apart expired headsets for the components in them. The hope here is that the people who do try and like the concept enough to pay the full price after the trial will number sufficiently that things break even (at this point, this is all any business not directly involved in coping with the pandemic can hope for - profit of any sort is a dream)

This would also be limited to VR solutions that can be set up by a layman right out of the box. Anything more complicated - multi-axis treadmilling, room-scale VR that isn't just "stick a bunch of doodads in the corners of the room", any form of glove-area haptics etc. - is out and will require a trip to a showroom or physical exhibition that isn't happening anytime soon.

Ironically, any VR platform that has a decent access method that uses only mobile or plain old keyboard and mouse will probably do better at least till the pandemic is under control (it is not, not right now). Not everybody has a VR headset, but penetration of access to keyboard or mobile is very high in so many places, the only upset right now is the fact that cryptomining has become popular again in recent weeks - which may put a strain on the availability of GPUs for use in higer-graphical VR systems in coming months as well...

Adeon Writer

If you don't have VR, but play VRChat with some people you know, and they have VR, it will make you want VR. Seeing them able to interact with you is enough that it's the root cause of VRChat's increasing numbers. It makes you want to be able to do the same. It only takes meeting someone using VR and you begin to understand exactly what it is that they area experiencing - immersion into the game. They are part of it.


Interestingly, most VR units have been sold out since the pandemic started. I think that may be a short-term bump in people who had been waiting to get one, but we'll see. There are few better ways to simulate being outside and exercising than VR. I'd be 20 pounds heavier if it wasn't for my Valve Index coupled with arm and leg weights; it has replaced cycling as my go-to exercise regime during the lockdown. And being able to hang out by a waterfall in the woods in Skyrim VR ain't bad for the sanity either!

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