VR gets reality check with decline in investment

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
The situation is not really that similar to what happened with SL's hype cycle. VR is still in its infancy. We are just now reaching the second gen headsets that will have much more mass market appeal because they don't require a computer and any external trackers, yet deliver most of the experience of the high end headsets that are tethered to PCs right now. The Oculus Quest that comes out this spring I think will be a game changer for adoption of VR. The Oculus Go showed the potential with a wireless device, but it was not powerful enough and did not have tracking, so the VR experience was subpar. The Quest solves all of those issues, at the price point of an Ipad.

There are so many uses for VR and AR beyond gaming and entertainment. I am very jaded when it comes to technology, and I am all in on VR. It's tranformational, and continues to improve dramatically. There was always going to be a bubble with people jumping on the bandwagon and thinking just making something in VR for the sake of making it would be a good idea. Oculus and others are in it for the long haul, and the market continues to grow dramatically.
 

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
People want content and community; developers give them hardware tech.

Same old story of why things fail.
It's not up to the VR hardware makers to deliver the content, though Oculus is heavily invested in making sure compelling content is being created for VR. Whether developers get it right is another story. You have Linden Lab flailing with Sansar, yet you have VRChat booming as a great social experience.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
People
can't
afford
to
pay
eight
hundred
freaking
dollars
for
a
silly
headset
just
so
they
can
play
like
four
games
Was the annoying formatting necessary when your point wasn't even right? The price of VR headsets have dropped dramatically. The Rift with Touch Controllers has been as low as $299. People pay $1000 for iPhones. High quality VR continues to get much cheaper as the tech matures, not more expensive. PSVR has been a huge success as well. There is a lot of content for VR - I certainly own more than 4 games. VR headset use on Steam VR doubled in 2018, and there are some fantastic VR games and experiences available.
 

Selinica

Do as I say not as I do
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
22
Location
Chico, CA
SL Rez
2012
Joined SLU
3/11/2013
SLU Posts
1334
VR is seeing more of a push now into commercial circles rather than home use. Gen 2 is barely starting to come out and is more adding nice features like eye tracking and gen 1 devices are now half of what they used to be, and for most people with headsets, they aren't going to upgrade for a while.
The bigger push right now is things like design, with VR programs for architectural design that supports collaboration, VR dedicated CAD programs, importing models from Solidworks into VR environments to allow scale testing of aspects that the analysis tools in the CAD program can't tell you. Look at what Bell did with the technology, they took the normal five to seven year timeline to develop a helicopter and used VR tools to end up completing one in under six months. From firsthand experience VR is an incredibly helpful tool for actual real design work.
As far as games go, more and more are adding VR and VR games continue to be made and released. It's as Cris said too, it's transformational. Things like VRChat gain this huge depth in interactivity and immersion when played in VR as opposed to the regular desktop client.

The investment drop is in VR and AR startups. As it stands AR is still in need of work and VR already has major players in the game. Rift and Vive dominate the commercial market with Xtal (and to a lesser extent, Vive pro) going in professional markets. Then off the top of my head there is Star VR, Pimax, the various "mixed reality" headsets and more. Competition is good, but right now without the coming soon gen 2 devices, the market is relatively stationary. The new tech is revealed and the features are revealed, most people looking to get in can probably figure out to wait.
Hell the one example in the article is VRidio which hosts 360 degree video (not something a lot of people record in comparison) and you already can watch 360 degree (and regular) videos on youtube in VR. It's kind of no shit a startup that was specialized went under when their video competition is the youtube juggernaut which has seen multiple alternative streaming services try and fail to take the role. Right now as the article states people are dumping money into cybersecurity and AI which currently happen to be much trendier among the startup crowd currently. Jaunt sold cameras for VR and that market didn't really materialize outside of porn. Startups closing down and having to pivot is nothing new and generally isn't indicative of the market. When all they typically ever have is an attempt to be disruptive to an existing market they surprisingly don't tend to do well. People are really liking to ignore that VR and AR have uses and keep seeing active development from the major players to expand and work on that in favor of predicting it's doomed when the etch is there to fully support it and it's seeing actual commercial use beyond just games. I didn't see people say that juicers were failing as an idea because Juicero went under.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,355
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
Was the annoying formatting necessary when your point wasn't even right? The price of VR headsets have dropped dramatically. The Rift with Touch Controllers has been as low as $299. People pay $1000 for iPhones. High quality VR continues to get much cheaper as the tech matures, not more expensive. PSVR has been a huge success as well. There is a lot of content for VR - I certainly own more than 4 games. VR headset use on Steam VR doubled in 2018, and there are some fantastic VR games and experiences available.
Then where the heck is everybody else?

When I look online, the only stuff I see that's under $500 is either old stuff - the kinda stuff with like the serious screen-dooring, narrow FOV, and uncomfortable-for-long-periods head rest - or the "go" headsets that are limited to essentially smartphone games. It's it not even all the old stuff either. Want a first-gen Vive? Still $500. First-gen Odyssey? $500. If you want a NEW Vive, it's $800 for the cheapest sku...assuming you don't want ANY controllers or room sensors (which the latest gen apparently still needs). The original Windows MR headsets are under $500...but they started out that way, and they haven't dropped A DOLLAR since release, not even on Amazon - I know, because I've been watching and waiting and it's never happened yet. Unless, again, you don't want controllers.

VR is WAY out of reach of the typical public. Everyone with enough disposable cash to buy systems bought them in 2016 and 2017, and there's nobody left, not at the current prices and near-complete lack of commercial hype to attract attention in 2018 or so far this year.
 

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
The Rift is the price of an iPad:

Oculus Rift | Oculus

$399

It is $349 on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Oculus-Touch-Virtual-Reality-System-pc/dp/B073X8N1YW/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1547443464&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=oculus+rift&psc=1

The new Oculus Quest will be $399 - but it will not require a computer at all.

Microsoft's MR headsets have been kind of a bust because there didn't seem to be much of a cohesive vision there. There are headsets at a wide variety of price points - the Acer and Lenovos are under $300.

VR ready gaming systems have also dropped dramatically in price. Even so, it is still early, as VR headsets become fully wireless (like the Quest and the forthcoming Vive headset) and you can have a compelling experience anywhere just by putting it on your head with no wires and full tracking of your movement, the market will expand even more.

The PSVR has sold over 3 million units:

Sony's PSVR still going strong as sales hit 3 million

It is a market that is growing, not shrinking by any means. There will be pullback on investments for the reasons I said earlier - a lot of companies jumped on the hype train and thought OMG WE HAVE TO HAVE VR EVERYTHING. It's a natural shakeout of a market, not some sign of doom.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,355
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
It is a market that is growing, not shrinking by any means. There will be pullback on investments for the reasons I said earlier - a lot of companies jumped on the hype train and thought OMG WE HAVE TO HAVE VR EVERYTHING. It's a natural shakeout of a market, not some sign of doom.
Oh I don't believe for a second that it's dying. But it's not going to grow by much until the price comes down....a whole great lot. People pay like $300 for a PS4, yeah, but they expect that shizzle to last them for like four or five years at a minimum before they have to even think of getting something new. And that's an ecosystem they're already committed to, so they "have to" buy the next gen console. The only people who will feel compelled to buy next-gen VR stuff despite the high prices are people who bought VR stuff already.
 

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
The price point has come down to where it can grow - the $399 price point is not a huge barrier of entry, especially if that is the premium experience. What will grow VR more than price alone is the decoupling from computer hardware and being fully wireless, whether it is self contained (like the Oculus Quest) or a wireless experience on a PC.

BTW, the PSVR is a separate thing on top of the price of the PS4 - depending on configuration it is close to $500 and they still sold a bunch of them. Sadly, I hated mine. Compared to the Rift, it's a subpar experience. The headset is uncomfortable and the graphics are meh. Mine is an expensive paperweight in a closet. On the other hand, I use my Rift constantly, and I also have an Oculus Go that I love. It has its own use case - I like that I can use it in bed or sitting in a chair. The only problem with the Go is that it lacks inside out tracking, so the experience is more limited, and the controller is awful. The Quest solves that problem, with a much more powerful system.

Broad adoption of VR is a ways off, but it will happen in time.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,355
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
As for the Quest.....the thing about that is, and I think I've mentioned this before, it might be new-gen but it's like "second tier" VR.

What I mean is, there's basically two "kinds" of VR out there - full-powered VR, and Google Cardboard-type VR. Everyone knows what Google Cardboard is, right? And it doesn't have to be Google Cardboard exactly, there's many different viewers - but basically there's a headset with lenses and you stick your phone in the front of it, and it's your phone that's actually providing the experience, assuming the game you're playing on it has a VR mode. As opposed to full-powered VR, which you plug into your PC and basically the headset is just your monitor now, you have more or less full access to your computer applications via the headset.

Quest is a Cardboard-type VR, but just that it comes with the phone "built in" so you don't have to stick your own phone in it. But you're going to be limited to smartphone-style games with smartphone-game graphics; and I'm not trying to put down mobile games here, people love them to death - I'm just saying, you're not going to be playing like AAA-quality stuff with PC-level graphics on a Quest, like you would be on a Rift or a Vive. And I think this is a distinction that the industry doesn't spend any time talking about or making particularly clear in their publicity, and as a result I think the potential consumer base has a lot of misconceptions about VR. And making THIS kind of VR more cheap and accessible, but counting it as the industry as a whole becoming cheap and accessible, feels a little misleading to me.
 

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,165
SL Rez
2002
Joined SLU
Nov 2003
SLU Posts
35836
You're wrong about the Quest. That is the Go - it was basically the Gear VR without requiring a phone. The Quest is much more powerful than the Go - and not comparable to the mobile phone based headsets. It sits a bit beneath the Rift - it is not as powerful, but it does have a much easier path for developers to make content for it and the Rift and is a major step up from the Go. It actually has better lenses than the Rift. It also has inside out tracking, so it provides the same tracking experience that the PC headsets do using external trackers. None of the mobile based VR headsets had that.

You should read up on the Quest, it's not what you described.

Oculus Quest | Oculus

Oculus Quest Specs, Price, Release Date And Everything Else We Know
 
Last edited:
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
2,355
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
I'm sure it's got better lenses - it's not the lenses or screens that would hold the Quest back. Smartphone screens are already amazing. It's the fact that a Rift can be driven by all the graphics processing and VRAM of a full-size, high-end PC video card, and the Quest isn't....and really cannot be, not any time soon. Not unless you want to bake your users' faces, or add tremendous heat-sinks and cooling fans to the outsides of the headsets. A Rift with similarly updated screens would leave the Quest behind substantially I think.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Brenda Archer

Beebo Brink

Climate Apocalypse Alarmist
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
1,242
SL Rez
2006
It's not up to the VR hardware makers to deliver the content, though Oculus is heavily invested in making sure compelling content is being created for VR. Whether developers get it right is another story. You have Linden Lab flailing with Sansar, yet you have VRChat booming as a great social experience.
VRChat delivers the content and community that I emphasized in my post. So it's a really good test case for the questions I have concerning any potential expansion of VR to mainstream culture.

Who is willing to invest several thousand dollars in a desktop computer and VR hardware specifically for the opportunity to engage in VRChat? Gamers are already there with desktop computers, so that's an existing market. Can VRChat expand beyond that to persuade people who are perfectly content with mobile/tablet to get a gaming rig?

As I've mentioned in several other posts, mobile is undercutting desktop sales. Even at my own company, with so many employees engaged in strong IT development, everyone is working from ThinkPad laptops or Surface Pro. The convenience of smaller devices is working against the hardware needs that (at least so far) are a requirement for VR. So this innovation has to buck a strong trend in consumer sales.

On the other hand, VR for training is definitely a growth opportunity. It's possible that exposure to VR through company training -- where the investment cost is not borne by the user -- will be the most useful entry point to consumer VR. Get a taste of what it's like, then want more?

I'm really intrigued by VR and would love to give it a try. I already have a pretty good computer set up, so the cost is not an insurmountable barrier, but the lack of compelling content has definitely put me on pause. I want something that provides at least as much ongoing enjoyment as Sims 4, and so far I just haven't seen it. (The videos of VRChat have convinced me that's not an experience I would enjoy.)

VR is really cool, but a great idea isn't enough to guarantee success. There's still a missing link for connecting average, computer illiterate users to something that enhances their lives in a truly compelling way.
 

OrinB

I'm here...
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
219
Location
UK
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
23 Sept 2009
SLU Posts
4771
We are trying to incorporate VR technology into content. It's tough. No one really understands who the end user is yet, what drives them and what will motivate them to use any established content created for them. I've been to quite a few industry events where current projects are on display for people to use. for me with my familiarity with desktop based SL, i find it hard to use and relate to, despite that 3d world experience, plus I only have one working eye so binocular devices have always been a problem for me to use. All of the content seems to be slightly missing the mark, there is no real audience yet. So many niche areas, not enough commonalities.

We are working on a few entertainment type projects. We'll see how they go down. They are based on current entertainment properties that have their own dedicated mass market audience. We all wonder what the take up will be and how the audience will respond. Whether it's "why did they develop so i can't (and am unwilling) use or see it!" or "OMG this is my chance to try out VR technology with something i really like... i wonder what else is out there for me to see?"
 

Noodles

Queen of Ramen
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
477
Location
Illinois
SL Rez
2006
Joined SLU
04-28-2010
SLU Posts
6947
It has the same problem 3D movies have. Especially for home use.

People don't really single task anymore. Having any experience that's so "Needs to be the focus" is just not going to take off. I know it's not VR, but like I play Overwatch, when I die waiting for respawn, between matches. Even when the match is live and slow, I am browsing in another window or on my phone. This is worse with TV (See the 3D TV problem. I know I am not alone. I can't even remember the last time we watched the TV in my house and everyone was 100% paying attention.

VR requires too much focus.
 

Sid

Boooooh!!!
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
2,082
Location
NL
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
2009
Who is willing to invest several thousand dollars in a desktop computer and VR hardware specifically for the opportunity to engage in VRChat? Gamers are already there with desktop computers, so that's an existing market. Can VRChat expand beyond that to persuade people who are perfectly content with mobile/tablet to get a gaming rig?
:qft:
At the moment I have a laptop, that can handle SL smoothly (with 2 extra vans underneath it, for extra cooling) . But when it comes to the end of its life cycle in a few (hopefully more than a few) years, I will not buy something that perse runs SL again. It might as well be a high end tablet then.
Sorry for SL, but I ain't gonna shell out hundreds of euro extra to play SL. The real addiction is over.
And no way I'm gonna pay for a PC with a state of the art video card and goggles to use it for one or two possible nice platforms and a game.
The times that I was a computer enthusiast who could not live with a PC older than 3 years and the best options available, are long gone.
Some really spectacular developments have to show up (software side and hardware side) before I'll be lured into VR.
 

Beebo Brink

Climate Apocalypse Alarmist
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
1,242
SL Rez
2006
People don't really single task anymore.... VR requires too much focus.
That's a really good point. Just using headphones with my computer is a continual challenge to my focus. Most evenings I am multi-tasking with browsing the internet, jumping up to let the dogs in/out, getting tapped by a cat, catching a snippet of news from the TV, and answering questions from my wife. All too often I'm wandering around the SL grid with my headphones off, because I'm needed elsewhere. If you add children to that family mix, VR is definitely just not possible to integrate into a daily routine.

This alone tends to restrict consumer VR usage to a niche market of young and/or single people who can carve out more free time without interruption.

At the moment I have a laptop, that can handle SL smoothly (with 2 extra vans underneath it, for extra cooling) . But when it comes to the end of its life cycle in a few (hopefully more than a few) years, I will not buy something that perse runs SL again.
The computer issues I was experiencing for the past year nearly brought me to that point. I seriously weighed my enjoyment in SL versus the cost of a new gaming system. Not to mention the temptation to eliminate the huge footprint of my mid-tower case in favor of a laptop with a docking station. What tipped the balance in favor of staying with a desktop was actually Sims 4, which is the only other GPU intensive game I play. I wasn't quite willing to give up both SL and Sims 4.

But if not for games, there's little incentive these days to take on the challenge of a desktop over a tablet or even just a smart phone.

The new Oculus Quest will be $399 - but it will not require a computer at all.
Now THAT is promising. The VR hardware that works without a computer is definitely the avenue to success. I'm curious to see what content develops that changes the equation.
 
Last edited:

Sid

Boooooh!!!
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
2,082
Location
NL
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
2009
I can see VR use in some professional markets. Like in real estate offices to show clients around newly planned neighborhoods that only still exist on the drawing boards. So the clients can pick their dream house, see the tiles of their choise in their future bathroom, the floor and wall finishes etc.
But goggles as a mainstream tool for the majority of households. IMHO a clear: Nope.
Mainly because of what the others here already brought to attention.
 
Last edited: