The current virtual reality (VR) market is seeing something of a split, with companies and consumers torn between what to support in the coming moths and years. In the midst of this, Chris Heatherly, EVP for Games and Digital Platforms at NBC Universal says that Home VR still has work to do before it becomes a viable business.
Speaking at the VentureBeat GamesBeat Summit 2018, Heatherly expressed the opinion that platforms such as the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive still have a long way to go before they have a viable business model.
Instead, Heatherly was keen to talk up the possibilities inherent in location-based VR centres: “We’re really focused on location-based VR right now,” said Heatherly in a GamesBeat Summit panel. “If you look at how The Void has done with Star Wars or what Dreamscape has done with Alien Zoon — all of the location VR things that have opened have completely sold out.”
Some analysts have compared the split in the market to the situation in the 80s and early 90s with location-based VR serving a function similar to what videogame arcades once did, with standalone and mobile-based VR standing in for early consoles.
Plenty of other experts have hit back at this suggestion, however, pointing to the sales numbers for the PlayStation VR, and how Sony were having trouble keeping the devices in stock on launch, particularly in Japan.
“It isn’t a business yet,” Heatherly said, “There’s a lot of negativity around VR. I happen to be bullish about the platform, but I think the technology was far from prime time for most users. So the hype bubble got out of control.”
With VR headsets getting cheaper all the time and mid-range standalone devices on the way, the future may be closer than many might think. VRFocus will be sure to keep you informed on those developments within the VR industry.