CES has taken place once again, and this time the two huge trends were voice integration (not our cup of tea for this column), and virtual reality. However, many CES promises in the latter category lack the substance for actual market impact, while others paint a clearer picture of where this industry is heading. Let's cut through the fluff.
Virtual reality just went social -- and the first offering from a major player is coming to mobile-based VR viewers with immersive VR system support this year.
Sales and public perception of virtual reality headsets have room to grow, with low levels of awareness among U.S. households, and lower-than-expected sales. A study from Parks Associates found that more than half (63%) of U.S. households say they are not familiar with or know nothing about VR.
Virtual reality and augmented reality seem to have a bright future, with AR and VR viewers expected to experience high growth numbers in the coming years. Over the next four years, global shipments of VR headsets will increase by more than six times and the number of AR headset shipments will increase by 150 times, according to new research from IDC. By 2020, VR headset shipments will grow to 61 million units globally, up from just more than 10 million units shipped this year.
Consumers are about to get another marketing does of AR in toys this holiday season. For example, the NeobearMagnifier NEO is a hand-held magnifying glass designed to create AR viewing for children. Hologrid: Monster Battle lets players see monsters created by the animator of "Star Wars" in battle
Oculus, Facebook's virtual reality acquisition, just released its new Oculus Touch peripheral, more closely aligning itself with HTC's Vive from a control standpoint.I've previously lamented the lack of standards and unification in control formats for VR, and while there still is no formal standard, the similarity of the Vive's hand controls and the new Oculus Touch seems to be an informal parity developers can depend on.
It's hard to talk about the emergence of VR without talking about VR porn. So let's talk.
VR is on the precipice of changing media as we know it. It also stands on the precipice of a format war that makes Betamax vs VHS and Blu-ray vs HD-DVD look like minor skirmishes. In fact, this pending standards conflict is probably the biggest threat to VR's growth and adoption today.
Virtual reality (VR) is unlike any other media in a number of ways. After spending a lot more time with VR myself the past few weeks, I've been reminded of one of the key differentiations: comfort is paramount. It's certainly nice to have decent back support or a plush pillow when reading in bed, to have a great couch when watching Netflix on TV, or to be seated anywhere but the front row when watching a movie in the theatre. But these comforts are somewhat ancillary to a particular medium: nice to have, but we aren't severely impacted by lack ...
There are many factors to consider in trying to predict when an emerging technology might have its iPhone moment, breaking through from an early-adopter niche into a mainstream consumer product. Merely being technically possible is only one piece of the puzzle, and in many ways is the least important. Once something is feasible, the next gating factor is market economics -- can we manufacture or productize it at a price that anyone would pay? But beyond technical and economic feasibility, there's a third factor that's often overlooked: cultural feasibility -- are we collectively "ready" for the technology.