Even though many people expected big things from virtual reality at CES 2019, it seems those expectations are not met at this time. Although there are a few interesting announcements and demos, it is clearly not a technology designed for the mainstream. That is a very unfortunate development, primarily because all of the initial buzz regarding this industry has all but disappeared at this time.
What Comes Next for Virtual reality?
It has not been easy period for the VR industry as a whole. Despite some good price cuts for VR headsets and an influx of additional content and use cases, it seems the mainstream appeal still isn’t there. Nor will it be there in 2019 and beyond either, if this edition of CES is any real indication. No massive press events are found on the agenda, even though at least three new units are being shown off by Oculus and HTC alike. Even the PlayStation VR, while wildly successful, is not looking to be at the center of attention during CES 2019.
All of this raises a lot of questions as to what the future will hold for this novice industry. While experts still predict massive growth by 2022, that seems more unlikely by the day. It is still complicated to use virtual reality headsets and the tethering requirements for a proper experience are not improving upon that situation by any means. Although wireless VR already exists, it provides a subpar experience first and foremost.
Overcoming the key industry hurdles has proven to be far more difficult than assumed as well. Although shipments received a healthy nudge in Q3 2018, they are a drop of water on the boiling plate, so to speak. These improvements only materialized after four straight quarters of declining shipments as well, which is another key factor to keep in mind. None of the main players and hardware manufacturers – with perhaps the exception of Sony- has made any meaningful dent so far.
For these companies, it is pertinent to address consumer complaints and concerns as quickly as possible. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on hardware suffering from laggy and clunky experiences. There is also the lack of content to keep in mind, as outside of gaming, VR has very little consumer appeal right now. It would also appear the consumer VR software investments have been cut in half throughout 2018. A lot of hurdles remain in place, yet addressing them will be a different matter altogether.
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