Virtual reality is having a moment, but the technology is still far from mainstream. Following the release of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in early 2016, headset sales quickly flattened once early adopters had purchased their gear. It seems the average customer isn’t as eager to pay US $600 for bulky goggles simply to peruse the rather limited catalogue of available VR content.
If more consumers can’t be persuaded of the value that VR could bring to their lives, an industry projected to breach a trillion dollars in sales by 2035 might flop. Faced with that possibility, NYC Media Lab welcomed virtual reality and augmented reality experts to Viacom last week for a daylong discussion about the future of these two budding technologies.
There was, not surprisingly, plenty of excitement about VR’s potential among the crowd of creators, designers, entrepreneurs, and investors. There was also a healthy dose of realism about the state of the industry and the drawbacks of existing VR gear. “For VR to really work and succeed, it has to be so good that you want to put an ugly plastic thing on your face,” said David Liu, creative director for virtual reality at Viacom.