Virtual reality slow to become reality

Boosters say, deep down, VR is a generational play

(Credit: CNN)

(CNN) – Tech firms are trying to hit the bullseye in the challenging world of virtual reality.

At the New York offices of Framestore VR studios, artists are hard at work crafting new VR experiences during an uncertain time for the industry.

Companies continue to sink billions into development, but headset sales came in way below estimates last year. Some say the experience just doesn’t live up to the hype.

Rachel Metz said, “For a good experience, it’s still too expensive, might not be all that comfortable to wear this thing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that great if you’re a person who tends to get motion sickness.”

Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, who recently hired a new head of its Oculus VR unit, said, “I don’t think that good virtual reality is fully there yet. It’s going to take five or ten more years of development.”

Framestore is more than aware of the challenges, but it says VR’s unique ability to transport users will ultimately win over the public.

Jon Collins said, “For the first time, in a sense you are the camera. It can create empathy in your understanding of what it’s like to be inside the scene. We’re developing projects which will help that empathy to put people in someone else’s shoes.”

Maggie Lake noted, “The question is: will people feel comfortable wearing these headsets, cutting off the real world, and using virtual reality over actual experiences?”

Boosters say, deep down, VR is a generational play.

Gene Munster said, “Anyone who’s over 30 sees this technology as evil and that ultimately we’re just going to be more of a secluded type of society. If you talk to people who are under 20 years old, then they are really excited about this. The younger people are slowly going to take over, so I think it’s a function of time before we get more comfortable as a society about VR.”

But don’t give up on the adults just yet. At a recent gathering of European VR startups in New York City, those that did take the plunge, were quick converts.

As more give VR a go, the virtual world is slowly becoming reality.