The Future is Near….We Just Can’t Afford it

Feb 24, 2016

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For years I’ve followed VR and have been anxiously waiting it’s release. 2016 is the year, it’s finally here. Things are good. The Virtual revolution will start, and I my hopes and dreams for the last few years will come true. Then reality sets in. VR is expensive. My heart sank when the Occulus Rift was announced for $600, that’s without the motion controls mind you. That will probably be extra. I held out hope that the Vive would be cheaper… it’s not.

I’m not surprised by this. The Vive has more tech involved in making it work so deep down I knew it would cost more. Even though it cost more, $200 more in fact, I feel it’s competitively priced compared to the Oculus. One of the advantages of the Vive is that the  motion controllers are shipping with the device. I’m  not sure when and how much the Oculus motion controls will be, but it’s fair to assume that it will cost an additional $50-$100 making that $200 price difference smaller. Yet all this it’s still too expensive for my blood.

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My heart was further saddened by Valves SteamVR Performance Test. This free little program runs a benchmark on your PC and will tell you if your machine is VR ready. When I upgraded last year, I tried to get my PC up to snuff with the then speculated system requirements.  I knew I would have to upgrade my graphics card, but seeing my computer fail the performance test (due to a graphics card) seemed extra defeating knowing the upgrade to a better card would be on top of an already expensive purchase of a VR device.

What about Augmented Reality you say, well that’s expensive as well. Recently Microsoft announced the price for a development kit for their AR device, the HoloLens, is $3000. I didn’t mistype. Three Thousand Dollars! Mircosoft’s Alex Kipman comments  on the release of the HoloLens“When I feel the world is ready, then we will allow normal people to buy it, It could be as soon as we say ‘yes,’ and it could be as long as a ‘very long time.’” With a current price tag of $3000 and an uncertain future, could AR be dead?

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My cheery youth eyes for the future of these awesome technologies have become down turned  when faced with the reality and practicality of the devices. I’ve gone from VR hopeful to VR cynic. I really want VR to be successful, but with the high cost of the devices I just don’t think they will take off commercially. Despite the difficulties facing VR and my loss in enthusiasm for VR, my opinion can be summed up in one meme worthy phrase. “I want to believe”

What do you think? Sound off below!

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