Many big players in the industry have been promising that the age of VR in mainstream media and everyday life is just around the corner for a few years now. But why does it still feel so close and yet so far away?
It’s important that we don’t ignore the few glaring obstacles that are preventing mass adoption of VR technology and serving as a roadblock for future developments AND, that when dealing with a technology with such colossal potential to re-deploy how we interact digitally, human working patterns, rhythms, expectations and outcomes have to journey down the evolutionary road too- it’s not just about the technology.
When virtual reality first emerged on the market, one of the biggest barriers for trying out the technology for yourself was the eye-watering price ticket of it. The tech isn’t quite as expensive as it was when it first came into the market; you can now grab headsets like an Oculus Quest 2 for as little as £300. Nonetheless, it’s still an investment, and it’s one that many may be reluctant to make. Not necessarily because of the price tag itself: just look at how a lot of us splash out thousands on custom-built computers or top-of-the-range televisions.
The thing is, even now, virtual reality still holds a stubborn stigma of being nothing more than a gimmicky novelty. When people buy other entertainment tech devices like PCs and TVs, they’re willing to make that investment because they know exactly what they can get out of using them. This doesn’t seem to be the case with virtual reality, however.
That’s not to say there’s no use for it: in fact, VR can help us in ways that simply no other mode of technology can. The problem is that companies have often marketed it as a novelty, which would make customers believe it to be such.
Comfort and logistics
The head-mounted displays we often associate with virtual reality aren’t exactly the most comfortable things to wear. Virtual reality is all about immersion; the tech can transport you into a whole new world. But when you have to put on a bulky headset to experience it, it can break the illusion, not to mention it can feel rather heavy after long periods of use.
Not only that, but VR software displayed through the headset also carries a risk of making the user feel dizzy or nauseous…an experience which is definitely something that can put a lot of people off VR for good, full stop!
If there’s one thing we learnt from the past few years, technology has been the glue keeping us together; even during times when we can’t interact with each other face-to-face, we can rely on text messages, video chatting and multiplayer online games to provide us our social fix. The coronavirus pandemic in particular has seen us turn to social apps and devices more than ever to boost our morale.
So, what can we do?
The first way to make virtual reality even more appealing for consumers is to really show them how it’s of use to them. The industry needs to completely shatter that misleading “novelty” stigma and really market the ways VR can benefit them in which no other type of technology can. We know that this technology has the power to do much more than just entertain; it will drastically change many aspects of our daily lives. Real estate, education, retail, healthcare, sports, travel, human resources – these are just a few of the industries that are going to be revolutionised by VR. And we really need to let people realise that.
Developers also need to look into ways to make VR a more comfortable experience for both casual and heavy users. More and more VR companies are starting to look into solutions to combat motion sickness, but the headsets themselves can feel clunky and sacrifice the seamlessness an immersive application promises.
Through our spatial reality portals, we’re focused on delivering the total immersive experience that hits the sweet spot of performance, quality, comfort and affordability. Our vision for the future is to deliver an immersive experience that is simplified, works with a wide variety of content and is accessible to everyone– where shareable portal projection technology, sits comfortably alongside it’s HMD variant because there is always a time and place because immersive technology is going to revolutionise the way we interact with dynamic digital interfaces and there will be multiple mediums, such as headsets, portals and projections that will take us there.