Why 2016 might not be the year of VR

2016 has been dubbed as the year of VR. 

Fortune – 2016 The Year of Virtual Reality?

CNET – Virtual Reality Set To Takeoff in 2016, researcher says

BBC – 2016: the year when VR goes from virtual to reality

In some ways I agree – I think 2016 is already a year where people all over the world are getting comfortable with the idea of VR. Samsung has done a great job of making an affordable VR experience with the GearVR at $99 but that experience is vastly different in both quality and content than what the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation  are bringing to the table.

GearVR

 

 

Here’s the catch. To really maximize the VR experience for the Oculus Rift, you need to either buy or build a high-octane PC to power it. Here’s a quick look at the specs you’ll likely want to have to really experience VR:

Intel i5 or i7 processor

8GB – 16GB of RAM

256GB Solid-state drive

1TB+ secondary drive

Killer graphics card (think $500+)

A high-performance motherboard (think overclocking)

VR PC

Oh, and after all of this, remember you still need to spend $700 to buy the Oculus Rift itself. In total you’re looking at easily over $2,000 and it’s not hard to get to $3,000 depending on what video card and display you decided to go with. Believe it or not there are video cards that cost over $3,000 alone…and ways to run two together, yes that’s $6,000 just in video cards.

So while Samsung Galaxy phone owners will have the easiest path to a VR experience, it’s pretty well known that the gap between that experience and what you get with a Rift powered by a kick-ass gaming PC is a big one. I think 2016 and 2017 are likely to be more like VR’s Beta years, where early-adopters get a taste of the future, but the average person still isn’t quite prepared to jack into the Matrix.

To close this gap, high-end VR experiences would need to be powered by something different (and cheaper) than a gaming PC. I think 2018 is likely to be the year where this might become a reality, but it’s still too early to tell. For now, I’ll go on record saying that I don’t think 2016 can really be called the year of VR. I think that year isn’t far away, but it will come when VR is as ubiquitous as smart phones, and we’re not going to get there this year.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Eric Borgos May 7, 2016, 3:33 pm

    On January 5th 2016 I wrote a blog posting entitled “2016 The Year of virtual Reality” at
    http://www.impulsecorp.com/2016-virtual-reality , but so far I would have to agree with you that it is not catching on. The Oculus Rift has not become mainstream yet, and although people are talking about VR more, most people still have not used it. So, as you suggested, it might be another year or two until it really becomes popular.

  • Joe May 7, 2016, 5:12 pm

    Interestingly vr system.

    Thank you for this post Morgan.

    The truth is that vr has much more to give than it now does research is not a game or a movie with uns glasses to see and no damage to the eyes, this is ridiculous.

    Many companies that work on vr know for sure that what comes is very large and therefore does not want to go to market because then it would be the end.

    the virtual reality I discover is not what today and for years was disclosed, in 1952 read a magazine of US written by a person of your country I do not remember his name and surname, as only taking notes what I read there.

    Half of reading see a sketch of a drawing and that made me understand what that writer and science writings thinking for future years that have not come all in good time.

    From 1996 to 1998, and until 2002 I and the Polytechnic University of Information Technologic discover luckily a very small preview of what in 1952 had read and seen in that sketch a drawing.

    We were scared to see what the science vr could become long time. I answer all my colleagues of that group of young researchers is and will all Infinity I will not see you I think if you see what is really the Virtual Reality must always be accompanied by the Artificial Intelligence that is the joint part I small patent in 1998 until 2002 not managed to overtake more.

    You may write to tumblr everything to know of my readings and notes and drafts of artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, to leave many a good taste like tasting a great wine on your palate and self she says each this is what gives us life and to achieve a purpose to discover and accept that there is more to discover as it is infinity better.