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Why is virtual reality still not taking off? Expert opinion

  • Considered promising a decade ago, virtual reality isn’t really taking off
  • And this would be due to the fact that it is difficult to get a person to wear VR headsets for long periods of time.
  • On the other hand, augmented reality could have greater potential

Ten years ago, the world was amazed by virtual reality headset demonstrations. And we predicted an explosion of this market. Meta bought Oculus for several billion dollars to position itself there and launched VR headsets aimed at the general public (an explosion of augmented reality is rather expected today). However, in 2023, VR has not yet taken off. And in the opinion of an expert this is not due to a technology problem, but rather to a problem related to use.

This week, the Zdnet site publishes an interview with Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, whom the site describes as a “pioneer” in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality. In fact, for him, virtual reality would be more of a difficult tool to democratize among consumers.

What is the concern of virtual reality?

He cites the example of video games, explaining that current games are so good that the industry doesn’t necessarily need VR to enhance the experience. He also doubts the economic model of some actors, which consists in generating income by relying on the intensive use of virtual reality.

“I worked at Samsung for five years and worked directly with the president of Samsung. So I know companies that think about their overall strategy. And I’ve always said that the ROI challenge for big tech companies is that you can’t make money based on the minutes used on this device.”says Jeremy Bailenson.

For what ? According to him, this is due to the fact that VR is an “intense medium”. Furthermore, he believes that even if manufacturers eliminate the nausea or latency issues, nothing is guaranteed. In fact, he doubts people want to wear a VR headset for very long.

Will augmented reality be different?

Whether augmented reality will be more successful than virtual reality remains to be seen. Since this technology doesn’t isolate us from the real world, it may have a better chance of success. Also, augmented reality can serve as a tool in everyday life.

This is probably why some predictions indicate that augmented reality glasses could one day replace smartphones. But for that to be possible, goggles (and not helmets) would need to be more affordable and light enough (and aesthetic) to be worn for hours.


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