Internet users never shown a great interest in virtual worlds and this is likely to continue even if now virtual reality (VR) itself looks very promising.
Disappointing surveys for virtual reality games
According to a survey conducted by Sequence brand agency on more than 1,000 US internet users regarding their gaming habits, 27% answered to primarly play through smartphones, 18% through desktops and laptops and only 12% through classic video game consoles.
Out of those who said they play video games, 42% said not to be really interested in trying VR devices, with a light prevalence of women and of internet users over the age of 60 among those who don’t like VR, vs men and boys ages 18 to 29 among those who like VR.
To be true, from survey it seems to emerge as there is not such a great knowledge nor sympathy yet regarding VR: more than a third of respondents said maybe they would be interested in trying devices for VR games, but less than a quarter said they definitely were interested.
Little interest in VR headsets
One of the problems seems indeed to be virtual reality headsets, which still show a modest appeal for the general audience: according to another survey, conducted by Gamer-Network site, 59,5% of worldwide internet users said they’re not interested in buying one, while just 14,9% said they were definitely interested.
By the way, nobody has asked the most obvious thing untill now: how much could internet users be ready to spend in order to buy a VR headset, so to be able to play video games in virtual reality mode.
My suspicion is that, both in terms of consoles (Sony PlaystationVR), both in terms of devices to connect to computers (Oculus Rift and Htc Vive), headsets and hand controls prices are still too high.
A key issue is whether Samsung, suffering problems that lead to the withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7, or Google, which a few days ago launched its new Daydream, will be able to create a customer base large enough to breach among all those people who use smartphones (rather than consoles or computers) to play.
Will it be another Second Life case?
If so, and if the many low cost clones upcoming from China will prove to be of a sufficient qualities not to deter the consumers once fades the “wow effect”, VR could overcome the distrust of internet users; otherwise it could be another “Second Life case”, with a niche market for a few fans that would not be able to create a mass market, quickly extinguishing the interest of startups and firms which in these months are trying to create ad hoc content for VR.
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