The concept of a “virtual reality” has been tossed around as far back as the early 1860’s. However, it wasn’t until modern times that the dream of virtual reality became a reality. To be fair, the results were less Matrix and more Lawnmower Man. This has caused many to speculate that virtual reality is nothing more than a passing fad.
In fact, The Outline ran an article, declaring as much, last year in October. One of the people the article quotes is Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of the studio CCP Games. Hilmar was quoted as saying, the quote originally coming from Destructoid, “We expected VR to be two to three times as big as it was, period”.
In the nine months since that Outline article ran, virtual reality has made no great strides forward. This has led Oculus co-founder Jack McCauley to express his doubts as to the marketability of virtual reality. McCauley talked to CNBC recently where he flat out stated that “If we were gonna sell, we would’ve sold”.
The original DK1, which was released in 2013, sold a pitiful 70,000 units. That is 700,000 less units than the Nintendo Virtual Boy. Let that sink in for a moment.
In 2014 the DK2 was released and sold a little more than double the amount of DK1s at 150,000 units. The most well known version, the discontinued Oculus Rift, only sold 547,000 units from the start of 2018 until now according to SuperData.
In his interview with CNBC, McCauley said there were still many obstacles that virtual reality gaming has to overcome. People still get nauseated from playing virtual reality games. Many, like myself, can not truly experience virtual reality due to vision issues. Virtual reality gaming doesn’t offer a satisfying experience for those sitting on the couch not actively playing the game. Unless virtual reality gaming makes the leap to a full experience like Star Trek’s holodeck then the latest attempt at virtual reality gaming will be placed in the hall of shame next to the Sega Activator.