Virtual reality: waiting for Sansar, a preliminary assessment

Virtual reality: waiting for Sansar, a preliminary assessment

sansar virtual reality 2017At the beginning of 2017 we are waiting for the opening, by next June, of Sansar the new virtual reality social platform developed by Linden Lab which won’t be a Second Life 2, i.e. one massive virtual world, a content box simultaneously accessible by users from all over the world, but a platform through which content creators may create discrete virtual experiences in which users can “hop in and out”.

Virtual reality, a slower start than expected

The announcement helps to keep high attention on a sector, that of virtual reality, which in recent months got eveyone talking more about hardware than software developments. About the latter, the first digits are now available and some disappointment (noticed btw even at Ces 2017) emerged, or at least some of the more optimistic estimates has proved to be bald right now.

Virtual reality headset’s sales were expected to be over 2 million in 2016, but at year end, according to the main research companies, are supposed to be sold around 750-800 thousand Playstation VR, 450-500 thousand Htc Vive and 350-400 thousand Oculus Rift. In all therefore must have been sold 1,55-1,7 million virtual reality viewers, in addition to about 5 millions Samsung Gear VR sold right now.

High prices and a few content breaks on

batman arkham vr - virtual realityThe cause of the slow rate of adoption of virtual reality tools seems at least partly due to costs (Playstation VR costs 400 dollars, Htc Vive 700 dollars, Oculus Rift 800 dollars), which makes for now “hyper-immersive” tools suited for niche markets only, as well as a still limited content development.

By the way Samsung pointed out as its customers viewed over 10 million hours of 360 degree videos in 2016, and in the meantime virtual reality games like Batman: Arkham VR or Chair In A Room are achieving a fair numbers of downloads.

So, 2017 seems to be the “real” test year of virtual reality: wil the news coming from Linden Lab and the investments made by group as Google and Intel be enough to speed up the sector, at least getting it closer to the early development of smartphone (in 2007 in the first six months of sales 3,3 millions units Apple’s iPhone were sold)? Or some high-tech big names would rather make an exit, cutting capex?

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