VR Gaming Can Cost a Fortune
While VR is considered by many to be the future of gaming, there is no denying that it is much more expensive at the moment than regular gaming. Anyone who wants the full-on VR experience will have to shell out at least $399 for an Oculus Rift, which is currently the most affordable high-end VR headset on the market. HTC Vive, on the other hand, costs $599, while Sony PlayStation VR costs $449.
Costs can increase even more if there are compatibility problems. If a computer does not have the required specs to meet the rigid demands of high-end VR gear, the only option is to invest in an equally high-end computer. The Razer Blade 2016 is one of the smallest VR ready laptops available on the market, and its price starts at a steep $1799.
The high costs of acquiring the necessary hardware to experience the best of what VR can offer is part of the reason why sales of high-end headsets continues to be lukewarm, especially when compared to hugely successful consumer electronics like the PS4 and the Xbox One. Market analysis firm Canalys revealed that in the third quarter of 2017 (June to September), shipments of high-end VR headsets breached 1 million shipments for the first time, with Sony’s PlayStation VR leading the way (490,000 units shipped), followed by Oculus Rift at 210,000, and HTC Vive at 160,000. Other VR companies such as China’s DPVR combined to ship some 140,000 units. In contrast, each of the aforementioned gaming consoles sold a million units in its very first day of availability.
VR Technology Yet To Hit Its Milestone
Yet to say that the cost of VR is killing the industry is a bit extreme, and in some ways inaccurate. True, sales of VR headsets have not met lofty expectations, but that does not mean the industry is not making any sort of headway. Breaching the 1 million mark in the third quarter of 2017 is proof that progress is still being made, and that the industry, though not exactly thriving, is nevertheless not dying either.
What’s more, sales of VR headsets have been trending upward this 2018. In fact, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR have combined to sell more than 2 million VR headsets through the first nine months of 2017 compared to the 1.7 million units they sold in the 2016. This increase in sales is modest at best, but it is still much better than no growth at all.
One of the key reasons that VR will continue to be strong is its use outside of traditional gaming. One market that VR will successfully tap into is the online poker community, which is currently comprised of millions of players around the world. Some outlets have reported that by 2020 there could be fully realized virtual casinos. This would further the development currently happening in the online casino industry towards interactive play. Digital platform Slingo is already integrating live dealers into its casino games, providing players with a live action experience akin land-based casinos. While not as immersive as VR poker it is still a big step up from where the online casino industry started. With poker becoming more popular, VR technology will be the next big step forward in allowing players across the globe to visit digital casinos to play.
The VR industry is still relatively young, and it is likely experiencing a lot of growing pains. While the headsets are expensive as the market increases the prices will drop. With VR expanding to include other forms of gaming there is no reason to believe that VR is dead yet.