Although virtual reality (VR) is expected to make a major leap in 2016, the industry is facing a huge problem in that most people do not own hardware capable of supporting VR systems. This poses issues for systems like the Facebook owned Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Many are wondering if technology companies are trying to push VR too quickly.
Estimates show that only 13 million personal computers worldwide in 2016 will have the graphics capabilities that are required to run VR. This represents less than 1% of all computers that are expected be used globally next year.
VR headsets create interactive 3D environments that fully immerse the user in an entirely new world. At the Consumer Electronics Show that is to take place in January, more than 40 exhibitions will be demonstrating VR products. This is a 77% increase over 2015. But just because leading technology enthusiasts at the CES will have the capability to run VR doesn’t mean the general public will.
According to representatives from Facebook, the Oculus Rift should hit the stores by the end of March. Meanwhile, HTC says that the Vive will be available sometime in April. The real question is whether or not the public will be ready.
Research analyst Piers Harding-Rolls said in an email, “I think the technology has significant potential, but I also think we have to be realistic about how strongly it will be adopted in the short term. The hype is somewhat understandable considering the investment some big technology companies are making in VR. However, VR headsets come to market with a number of specific challenges.”
According to recent estimates, 7 million VR headsets will be in use by the time 2016 ends, bringing $540 million in revenue to VR companies. However, this is a massive shortfall from the $2 billion that Facebook paid to purchase Oculus in 2014.
Technology experts have stated that top-notch graphics cards and computing capabilities are absolutely needed to run VR. If one tries to use the immersive technology with sub-par processing power, it can easily cause motion sickness. In fact, many prototypes of VR headsets were known to cause testers to vomit. Most VR media needs to achieve a staggering 90 frames per second to present fluid motion. This is three times faster than standard computer games. A laptop capable of achieving this can cost around $1,500.
So while VR technology might be very exciting to many, it could be a few more years before it fully catches on. The hardware just isn’t quite there yet. However, the worst case scenario is that introducing it too early could cause people to shun the technology entirely.