Opinion: VR is not all it’s cracked up to be

Matt Boland

Virtual reality has been touted as the next big thing that will change the landscape of technology.  Even one of the biggest companies in the world, Facebook, bought into the hype by buying Oculus, a company based in VR technology development. Too bad VR has been DOA since the  headsets hit the market. Now don’t be mistaken, I have had experiences with VR and it’s great, but it just isn’t ready for the critical masses, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the cost of entry is way too high. There are three main headsets on the market: the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PS VR. And they all have the same problem, the price tag. They’re way too expensive. The cheapest headset is the PS VR at $299 while the Vibe and Rift are over $400. Then once you buy one of these headsets, you aren’t done. You have to purchase either a PS4 or a high end gaming PC for the headsets to work. So even in a time when a $1000 dollar iPhone is the norm, no one is going to convince mom and dad to buy Timmy a $600 minimum VR experience. An iPhone does almost everything, a VR headset only plays games and that’s not a big enough selling point.

Secondly, for how groundbreaking VR is, some aspects of the technology are stuck in the past. As of writing this, the only way to experience VR is to strap on a clunky, heavy, uncomfortable, plastic headset to the front of your face. Along with the headset, you get a movement restricting pony tail of wires coming out the back of your head that would make the Predator jealous. The problem with the headsets are they aren’t convenient in any way. The technology just isn’t there yet. If companies want VR to be appealing to the general public, the headsets have become either wireless or less restricting. More importantly the headsets need to be smaller and more streamlined. VR companies need to match the ease of use Samsung and Apple have crafted with their phones we use every day or VR will remain a niche market.

The last and biggest problem with VR is that it is not made for everyone. Anyone who has motion sickness problems of any sort, run away. Even with all the advancements VR companies have made with the technology they still haven’t figured out a way to make people not feel nauseated while wearing a headset. Arguably this is a problem more for the developers making the content but if a consumer has any reason to say no when thinking about purchasing one of these headsets, it automatically becomes the VR company’s problem.