Virtual reality has been around for about 20 years and it still hasn’t really kicked off as predicted by many tech companies and gurus. It’s hard to think why it hasn’t become the future of technology but there are actually numerous underlying problems that’s restricting its success.
One of the main obstacles put in front of a user when thinking of purchasing VR equipment is the price tag. Buying the VR headset, games and other add-on devices can pile up to approximately £400 to £500. This price bracket includes some of the most well-known VR equipment such as the Oculus Rift and Quest and the Samsung VR. However, this is just the starting price, if you’re thinking about more of a premium VR setup then you will be looking at a hefty price tag of around £1,000.
Another major aspect of virtual reality that’s holding it back is the lack of cross platform integration regarding VR sets and games. You can’t use any old PS4 game with a VR headset, you’ll have to buy VR compatible games which are unfortunately quite basic looking, in terms of graphics – nothing compared to the high-quality life like graphics seen in recent games. Furthermore, games such as ‘Resident Evil 7’ that have been made available on VR are also available as a console/PC game so there’s not much need to spend £500 on VR equipment when you can just play the game ‘normally’.
Setting up VR equipment can also be extremely tedious and frustrating, as it’s clearly not just a simple plug in device. Depending on what kind of virtual reality setup you’re going for, it could potentially take a whole day of work. Even if you want to go down the route of mobile virtual reality, you’ll have to be willing to sacrifice your phone’s battery or permanently carry a charger around.
There is still a lot of speculation surrounding VR and its impact on health; such as brain activity, eye performance, etc. Binge playing virtual reality is fairly uncommon as well because spending too much time on VR can lead to disorientation and can even make the user feel sick under the worst circumstances. It’s been recommended that users should take 10-15 minute breaks for every 30 minutes of VR they play which can just get frustrating after a while.
Regardless of the criticism that virtual reality is facing, there is still a continuation in the development of VR. Recently, ‘Google’s YouTube VR app arrived on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing the largest library of VR content on the web to Facebook’s entry level VR device’. With access to the wide variety of content available on YouTube, there’s no better time to justify the purchase of a VR set.
VR certainly hasn’t become the phenomenon we expected it to be, however, the problems have been identified and it’s only a matter of time until technicians and engineers find solutions to these problems. With console gaming still dominating the market, it’s difficult to estimate how long it will be until virtual reality starts to really challenge for pole position.