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Virtual Reality’s Rocky Start

Nothing will come easy for the introduction of virtual reality. The hardware demands are steep, the units are expensive, the technology is still evolving, and plenty of naysayers are calling it the next 3DTV or the cynical byproduct of a tech industry looking for another item to market down the throats of gamers everywhere.

It doesn’t help when both Oculus and HTC Vive launch with supply problems that quite frankly are embarrassing. People not being able to get the hardware they pre-ordered months in advance, much less make an impulse purchase on launch day, is not a good first step for an industry that research companies like SuperData say will reach 40 billion in revenue by 2020.

In fact, if you ordered an Oculus at the time that I wrote this, the delivery window would be August. Game Informer staff members who pre-ordered early are still waiting in anticipation with minimal communication about the delays. That is not how you launch hardware.

Despite all this, I am still impressed with the Vive and the Rift. I feel VR is still very compelling, warts and all, in these formative years. The PC space is where entertainment for virtual reality will be pushed and perfected, but that said, I agree with most analysts when they say that PlayStation VR will lead the charge of getting VR into consumers’ hands.

The fact that users already have the PS4 hardware means the cost of entry is much lower at $499 ($399 if you don’t need the camera and Move controllers). Combine this with Sony’s experience with hardware launches (I seriously doubt it will experience the shortages we’re seeing with Rift and Vive) and I believe the PSVR will be the spark that lights the VR fire when it launches this October.

Sony already announced an aggressive demo campaign, which I believe is the key to selling people on the power of VR in games. Yes, the technology is just at the beginning of its ascent as an entertainment medium, but I know after spending time with VR that I am already in love with the experiences and want it to be a centerpiece of my gaming life. It’s something that you simply have to try. I have yet to show it to someone and not have them walk away with a smile and a story to tell about what they saw.

So even if the price of entry for VR is too much for you to handle, or you don’t want to be an early adopter in this new entertainment space, do yourself a favor and get out there and find a way to try it. I think you will be shocked by what you see.

Cheers,

Andy McNamara

Editor-in-Chief,Game Informer

Andy McNamara is editor-in-chief of Game Informer. Follow Andy on Twitter @GI_AndyMc.

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