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Monday, August 08, 2022

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Luther Weymann

First-world countries have millions of homes with unused “the next big tech thing” lying around in closets and boxes. Initially, it’s a gotta-have because I have the disposable income, and I must have the next cool thing to keep up. Then it’s “this makes me feel good to have some new tech,” and you tell all your friends. After a while, it’s the same old thing, or it’s just not helpful to you, and your usage keeps decreasing. And then it’s that Christmas gift you keep out for everyone to see, but it has not been turned on in months. Finally, to make room for your next consumerism conquest, it’s in a box in the closet where it remains for one or two decades before being given away or sold at the garage sale.

scint

I think it's a similar pattern as we see with consoles like PS, Xbox, Switch (maybe a bit worse, because VR adds a lot of friction & hassle). Consoles are also not in daily use but whenever one has a gaming burst or when a new game releases... and that is what Quest currently is mainly: a gaming console, and it should be compared as such. Of course, the ambitions of Zuck and others are higher which is why we tend to compare it with PC/smartphones. However, to reach the ubiquity and value that these devices provide to our lives, there's still quite a way to go.

Martin K.

> This would be fine if there wasn't so much hype and it was actually treated like any other early technology.

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, that phase of inflated expectations is part of the evolution of a lot of emerging technologies.

> There are a few major theories for why consumers don't stick with it (at least with the modern rendition of the tech) but that's another discussion.

And it's probably not just a single reason but a whole spectrum of reasons: not enough compelling games and apps, not enough users among your friends and relatives, not cheap enough, not comfortable enough, not convenient enough, not hygienic enough, etc. (The relative importance of these reasons differs from person to person.)

It's like the early days of portable audio players in the 1960s, the early days of cell phones and laptops in the 1980s, or the early days of tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches in the 1990s.

I feel that we are still several years away from the Walkman/iPad/iPhone/fitbit-moment for VR. Even if Apple's forthcoming VR glasses and Meta's Quest Pro were much cheaper than they are going to be, I'm still not sure that they would become true mass products.

However, one of the reasons why I'm still convinced that the success of VR is inevitable are two of the grandchildren of my neighbours: a highlight of every visit to their grandparents is to come by and play on my VR devices. And it's not even great headsets (an HP Windows Mixed Reality headset and an original Oculus Quest), nor great games (their favourite game is Rec Room's "The Quest for the Golden Trophy" from 2017). But they can play together, it's safe (they play on COPPA-certified junior accounts), it's free (for them), it's convenient (for them because I set it up and stay around to fix problems), it's somewhat comfortable (I made sure that they use teleporting instead of continuous locomotion), and it's hygienic (I regularly clean the custom face pads).

Their enthusiasm for a VR game from 2017 on VR devices from around 2019 is infectious. But I'm aware that they are playing under very specific conditions. I don't know how the VR industry can get there; I just know two kids who are thrilled to play VR for hours every time I see them.

Daven Bigelow

The real study result was Gen Z doesn't like taking surveys

Or somehow 99% of the roughly 10m sold didn't go to Gen Z

Nadeja

Unlike another reader, I don't think we are in the early days of VR. The earliest HMD were made in the 1960s. NASA worked with HMD in the 1980s, Nintendo had something too. Then there were several commercial releases in the 1990s. Now we are in the 2020s.

I rather think that VR headsets aren't so practical and human-friendly.
I'm not talking about the technical limitations, the lack of peripheral vision, nausea, the risk of hitting or stumbling on anything as you have essentially a blindfold... but about the HMD device itself.

You could say that someone can wear a HMD for hours, but in general sunglasses and eyeglasses are probably about as much as one can take, and some people still prefer contact lenses.

We need a paradigm shift around HMDs. When VR will be as widespread as smartphones, we would likely not use HMDs, but something else.

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