HTC’s VIVE’s orders brought in more than $11 million in revenue, according to published reports.
The massive rush to buy the $699 HTC virtual reality headset in being interpreted by some of VR’s proponents as solid proof that Virtual Reality is the next big thing,
What’s missing so far are reports and estimates of who is buying the new technology. In previous technological gold rushes, in addition to early adopters many first purchasers have been to hardware and software developers plus technical marketing and other specialists performing competitive analyses.
More VR systems will appear before the end of this summer, including Oculus Rift’s (Facebook) first product and perhaps Avegant’s Glyph personal theater. Further down the road Google is expected to introduce its second VR/personal theater product, which according to published reports that have appeared over the last several weeks, is now under development.
Microsoft is also in the mix at the high-end with its $3,000 HoloLens, which is expected to begin shipping at the end of March.
AS s products begin to appear, acquisition and system hardware overhead could become issues. Secondarily, standalone systems could become more popular than headsets and other display technologies that require a tethered cable between a headset and hardware.
I believe virtual and augmented reality devices will ignite a Gold Rush in wearable computing, but I’ve lived through enough technological revolutions to know there will be big losers and winners in the race to easily mined riches. Like the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, some of the real fortunes will be made by technology companies that mine the miners. And from that category I believe we’ll see huge advances in Interface, usability, gesture control and other technologies. I’m not going to be among the first purchasers of any high end VR system. I have a kid headed back to college. But eventual I’ll buy a system, and when I do, I’m hoping for immersive historical content. That will be me, huddled in my fluffy jacket in a corner of my office looking at an inside view of the Donnor Party as I snack on some Barbecue ribs in North San Diego County.—Jim Forbes on 2 March, 2016