While we are facing some pretty significant pitfalls in 2016 with the launch of major virtual reality sets (namely HTC Vive and Oculus Rift), we remain pretty optimistic that consumers and companies will look past these roadblocks to a bright future with VR. That being said, here are some of the major hurdles we’ll be facing this year.
Higher hardware cost to buy in than originally thought. Just the Rift is going to cost $600, and that won’t even include the Touch controllers slated to come out the 2nd half of this year. You do get an Xbox One controller and the ergonomics of the headset are much, much nicer. Also, up until recently, people have been able to take just about any recently made computer (including laptops) and run Rift software. Now the system requirements have been greatly increased (not complaining here… We totally get why- FRAME RATES), so a lot more folks are looking at having to upgrade or replace their rigs just to get started.
Lack of Titles
As with any new tech, there will be some time between major headset launches and emergence of a large offering of quality apps to choose from. While it’s true that there are several major companies as well as many talented Indie studios developing games and experiences for VR to launch this year, we’ll probably still be waiting for enough content to really keep us busy and interested in the first few months.
Just as they were when smartphones first came into being, major studios are still highly cautious about going all-in on VR titles, so there aren’t a lot of ‘recognizable’ names and titles out there now.
There are so many possible platforms. While developers are provided some freedom through development tools like Unity 3D and the Unreal Engine, the fact remains, developing titles for multiple platforms is a huge undertaking in most cases. Unified development software like SteamVR, OSVR, and just Unity’s own native VR support does not cover most headsets. The ones they do cover are still very much in beta-level support.
Competition is great in that it helps control pricing, but as the VR industry takes off, there are definitely going to be some growing pains. The consumers that choose the “wrong” brand of headset will be out of luck when some of these companies go under or at the very least, have a very limited selection of titles to choose from.