We have talked about what is keeping Virtual Reality back for a couple of times (or at least we tend to mention it), however its time to talk about what just might launch Virtual Reality into the mainstream, and that is VR in your local video arcade.
Cost and Lack of Content
We know VR headsets are expensive, we know that the hardware to run them is expensive and we know there isn’t that much out there to make it worth while yet.
That’s the reason mobile phones with VR are so popular. People want to give VR a try and mobile phones do that, but there isn’t much for people to start spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on VR. The future will be a lot different and people will have VR headsets at home just as they have gaming consoles, tvs and computers today.
So how do you fix the high entry level cost of VR?
The Evolution of Entertainment Tech
How do you take a very expensive piece of technology from an enthusiasts market and into the mainstream? We might think that VR is at an unique place but if we stop and think about it really isn’t… Almost every new piece of gaming technology goes thru a similar evolution.
At one point they are so expensive that consumers can’t responsibly throw all that money at it. It’s not that the consumer doesn’t want it, it’s just that high cost getting in the way. Then, technology eventually gets cheaper and cheaper (as new ways to produce it are developed) until it gets to a price that is acceptable to the audience. And yet it needs to be popular to sell.
So how do you make people like it before they can buy it? You rent it of course!
Think gaming and you will remember that Arcades existed so that people could play for quarters instead of buying a gaming console.
Think about the movies, and you will realize that going to the movies was the best way to watch a film and now we can simply buy a home theater.
There combination of curious consumers and high cost of VR means that VR Arcades would find plenty of consumers, willing to spend a fraction of the price of a VR kit to try it!
The Immersive Arcade
Plenty of companies see VR Arcades as the place to be for VR tech now. It would be hard to tell just how much time is required to make VR “Home budget” friendly.
Therefore there is no shortage of companies thinking developing products not for Home VR entertainment, but for arcade and family entertainment centers.
Pong’s inventor Nolan Bushnell created a company called Modal VR, which develops headsets that come with built-in batteries and wifi transmitters. These in turn will allow players to be transported into different games with as much as 15 other players!
We might not know when VR will be widely available and reach most house’s, but it seems we might just be a couple of years away from fully immersive VR Arcades!
Image Credit G Strange