It's way too early to start writing obituaries for virtual reality. Yes, it's disappointing that the technology has been slow to catch on with consumers, but the potential of VR is so great that it could literally upend life as we know it. Imagine watching live sports events through virtual reality for a fraction of the price of a stadium ticket—or Hollywood using VR technology to completely re-think how we write, produce and distribute motion pictures. Virtual reality has the capability to completely change how we view and interact with the world.
At the end of the day, the tech is going to get cheaper and the accessories are going to become more robust. The industry has just started to really produce VR technology for consumers. Imagine if the electronics industry gave up after slow adoption numbers for high-definition TV or the Blu-ray format. Things take time, and the coolest tech is just around the corner. (And at cheaper prices.)
But we looked a little deeper, and found good reason to feel positive about VR in 2017: two of the biggest companies in the space focused on accessories to enhance their VR experience, and both impressed us enough to feel like we'll be enjoying virtual reality a lot more this year.
Virtual reality is a sham. For developers, it's expensive to produce content for VR users. And for consumers, the investment required is still too much. People shell out thousands for an elite VR setup, but there's very little they can do with the headsets.
And at its core, VR is also a hard sell because there's only so much time in the day. How many hours are you really going to spend strapped inside of a headset, away from work or friends and family? That's why things like smart devices and augmented reality are more likely to catch on, especially since people can use those devices while interacting with the real world.
I have no desire to buy any of the high-end headsets or pick up the mobile headsets sitting on my desk. The problem for VR and the companies investing in the platform is that beyond the wow factor, there is little to keep people coming back.