Is It Worth Investing in VR? Here’s Why We Think VR Consoles Haven’t Become Mainstream
Technology has advanced so rapidly over the years that electric cars, AI, and 3D printing have now become our reality. But of all the new marvels that have been created, one piece of tech that surprisingly didn’t have as big of an impact is VR technology. To be more specific, virtual reality game consoles. From the Meta Quest 2 (formerly known as the Oculus Quest), PlayStation VR2, and HTC Vive XR Elite, there’s a wide array of different VR headsets to purchase on the market. That being said, it’s made very little impact on the gaming world despite initial beliefs. While you would assume something as mind-blowing and game-changing as VR technology combined with gaming would take over the world, it just hasn’t.
So why haven’t gamers felt inspired to go out and purchase VR consoles? Able to provide them with an incredibly immersive experience they’ve never been able to dream of, you would think gamers would be falling head over heels for these innovative products. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers that prevent people from buying. According to this Reddit thread, it comes down to : price, accessibility, and physical requirements. Buying VR simply isn’t as easy or reliable as purchasing say, a Nintendo Switch or PlayStation. There exists an air of uncertainty and skepticism that can only be fixed with more time and improvement.
First things first, we have to discuss the prices. We won’t sugarcoat it, buying a VR headset is awfully expensive. While the Meta Quest 2 starts out at around $300 USD (which is nothing to scoff at), more high-end models can reach upwards of even $1000 USD. For an everyday consumer or casual gamer, there isn’t any reason why someone would be willing to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars just to buy a console they don’t know anything about. For even the most seasoned, hard-core gamers who live to game, $1000 is nothing to laugh at - especially when that price doesn’t even include the games yet!
Let’s move on to accessibility, because no, its insanely high prices don’t make these devices any easier to use. When it comes to playing on a VR headset, it’s not as simple as switching on your console, sitting back on your couch, and enjoying a long gaming session. Starting up a VR headset requires numerous steps: you have to make sure you have enough space around you for safe movement, plug in the headset, adjust the headset, and adjust the controllers all before you play. For those who are less comfortable with tech, this may prove to be an even more difficult challenge. It’s almost as if VR headsets expect their users to be tech-friendly to begin with.
There are a couple of other factors to consider as well. If you’re someone who easily suffers from motion sickness just from playing PC or console games, VR might not be made for you. Throwing you into alternate universes that require a lot of movement, it’s safe to say your body might be too overwhelmed by what you see. On the other hand, VR also requires a lot of space to move around which many people might not have. It isn’t safe to play in a cramped space where you might bang your hand or trip over things, so if you’re unable to make some room, you might as well just cross VR headsets off your list.
Last but not least, playing with a VR headset requires a surprising amount of physical activity. Compared to the casualness of typical console gaming, VR requires you to engage with your surroundings while playing games (that is the point of immersing yourself completely). , one of their biggest complaints seems to be that they can’t enjoy games for hours and hours on end due to their growing fatigue as they play. Sure, Beat Saber is fun, but can you really swing your arms around for 3 or more hours? Others have also claimed that wearing the heavy, bulky headset for a long time can also start to feel uncomfortable and taxing on the head, meaning you can’t enjoy your gaming session for long without feeling some discomfort. In short, there’s a whole lot more effort that goes into just enjoying a VR headset.
At the end of the day, while VR is certainly an impressive accomplishment in the realm of both tech and the gaming world, it just hasn’t had enough development to join the ranks of the typical consoles. With many hurdles preventing gamers and tech enthusiasts from purchasing a VR headset, it hasn’t been able to become a mainstream piece of technology. Perhaps with more time and more advancements toward its ease of use, prices will be able to drop and make it more affordable for consumers. But for now, VR remains a sort of gimmicky or novelty item that most continue to stray away from.