Virtual reality is often heralded as a game-changer. From those of us who have tried it. Those who make it. And especially analysts who see it as the next huge vertical. Proponents of VR shouldn’t look to Take-Two’s CEO to be a cheerleader for the new tech, though.
“It’s way too expensive right now,” said Strauss Zelnick at this week’s Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (via Gamespot). “There is no market for a $2,000 entertainment device that requires you to dedicate a room to the activity. I don’t know what people could be thinking. Maybe some of the people in this room have a room to dedicate to an entertainment activity, but back here in the real world? That’s not what we have in America.”
Damn Zelnick, tell us how you really feel!
“We have like $300 to spend on an entertainment device and we do not have a dedicated room. We have a room for a screen, a couch and controllers,” Zelnick added. “We don’t have something where you stand in a big open space and hold two controllers with something on your head — and not crash into the coffee table. We don’t have that.”
I get what Zelnick is saying. He highlights two major hurdles most people acknowledge. Price and space. Hell, space was an issue for Microsoft’s Kinect, and it will be an issue for VR. Granted, VR looks a hell of a lot more compelling than the Kinect.
It also depends on how you want to play. You don’t have to use the two controllers. You can use a traditional gamepad with just the headset on. Still, the complete VR experience will require space many people might not have.
But Zelnick isn’t completely down on VR. “I’m not unexcited; I’m just saying it remains to be seen,” he said. “There are impediments.” Again, another reasonable position.
I know it feels like VR has been around forever. Oculus took the gaming community by storm with their Kickstarter all the way back in 2012. Four years later and we are just now seeing the consumer version for Oculus Rift.
What VR has going for it
We know price is one of the biggest hurdles for VR. Creating a VR-capable machine is costly. AMD is doing their part to bring down that price somewhat. On June 29th, their Radeon RX 480 (VR-ready) graphics card will hit stores for $199. That’ll help big time when putting together a new computer.
Plus, VR isn’t just about gaming. Of course, gaming will be where it’s pushed – but the technology has uses far beyond our favorite games. Health, tourism, enterprise and more.
The cheaper PlayStation VR could help push faster adoption.
And we can’t forget about cheaper VR options like PlayStation VR. If it’s at all comparable to Oculus and HTC Vive, we could see even faster adoption. Time will tell, but VR is no gimmick. The technology is too compelling for that. It might not see huge adoption right away, but future iterations will drive the price down.
People need to try it
You can’t just tell someone VR is awesome and expect them to drop $600+ on it. They need to experience it for themselves.
I was surfing around NeoGAF earlier today, and one of its users (Jacqli) had the perfect solution. VR at arcades. I can’t believe I never thought of this. It solves the biggest hurdle of all – demonstrating VR. Arcades get a much-needed resurgence and VR makers can show off their wares. It’s a win-win for everyone. I’d drop ten bucks to try the latest VR games. Some companies are already doing it such as VRcade. Now we just need it in every large city.
Will VR be huge? Sure. Will it happen in the next year or two? Probably not. Adoption takes time and it won’t be until the second or third generation that we see it take off. The technology will only get better. And more importantly, the price will drop.