Input: A Major Factor in the Adoption of VR
Virtual Reality is rapidly taking hold of the public consciousness. While the vast majority of people have still not tried on a VR headset, more and more are becoming aware of Virtual Reality as it continues to seep into the cultural zeitgeist. From a purely statistical standpoint this makes sense. Ever since the discovery of electricity, the amount of time it takes for the general public to adopt revolutionary new technology has continually shrunk. The smartphone was adopted faster than the cellphone which was adopted faster than the telephone and so on.
Now, with Virtual Reality, the adoption rate looks to be faster than ever. Despite the fact that these are still expensive pieces of hardware, they are selling rapidly. Both HTC and Oculus ran into major shortages when launching their VR headsets, and Sony’s Playstation VR has already maxed out its preorders. It is clear that people are excited about experiencing new worlds through head-mounted displays and it’s looking like VR’s general adoption rate is going to be unparalleled.
Many are expecting the PlaystationVR, which is slated for release on October 13th, 2016 to be the headset which truly brings VR into the mainstream. With a 40 million unit install base and the the lowest price-point for a tethered experience, the playstationVR was always likely to be the bestselling VR headset in 2016, but the other trick up the PSVR’s sleeve is its accessibility.
Easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to share, the playstationVR is going to provide Virtual Reality experiences to millions in 2016. Perhaps what is most exciting is the expected overlap of shared experiences as gamers who buy PSVR headsets begin to share it with people who’ve traditionally shied away from games because the of the perceived complexity of modern controllers.
While many PSVR games will still utilize the standard Playstation controller, a surprising number will rely on headtracking and motion controllers alone to generate an experience for their users. This will allow the PSVR to reach out to new markets and thus expedite the widespread adoption of VR as non-gamers and non-tech oriented people start to see VR for what it truly is, a paradigm shift in how humans interact with computers.
Intuitive control has always been a deciding factor in the success of all new computing platforms. Every major platform evolution has been heralded by a sizable bump in easy to use, intuitive design. For years now, smartphones have served as the epitome of intuitive design. When you use a smartphone, you see something you’re interested in, you click on it or swipe it- there is no external controller between you and you’re desired action, its just your finger and the screen. Virtual Reality is now removing the next layer of abstraction by replacing the taps and swipes with sight-based interaction.
Like all new technology, Virtual Reality is going to be first purchased by people who are already interested in the platform. But VR’s greatest potential for success lies in a shareability that is derived from the ease in which this technology can be picked up and enjoyed, whether you have previous experience with videogames or not. People who’ve never had an interest in virtual worlds are going to have an interest once they get their first experience from a friend or family member.
Ultimately, VR adoption is going to be fast and furious. The current sales numbers and preorders alone are proving that, but once high-end VR starts making it into the hands of people who’ve never experienced an interactive, virtual world — that is when the medium is truly going to take off.