Above all other recent technological developments, it is perhaps VR that has created the most excitement. Every new announcement and development is met with anticipation and hordes of eager users wanting to try it out. Virtual reality shows have become a destination for the tech savvy. And by raising the profile of VR, more investors will jump on-board, meaning that developments in the field occur at a faster rate. But it is possible that this trend could be doing more to stunt the growth of the fledgling industry that aid it.
To understand why, it is important to remember the beginnings of the two industries that it is most similar to, movies and video games. In the past, going to the arcade or cinema was a special occasion, a destination in of itself, and something that most only did once every now and again, rather than an everyday occurrence. With the onslaught of consoles, games and films that followed, however, this paradigm shifted. Everyone could play a video game at home, whenever they wanted, without having to make a special trip, and the same was true for films.
VR needs to arrive at this point, and soon. Making it a destination is great for building excitement and announcing new developments, but in order to make progress as an industry, the focus needs to move to getting as many headsets in as many pairs of hands as possible. If people begin to associate VR with waiting in line for hours to try a product that may or may not live up to expectations, the interest in the technology, and therefore revenue for the creators, will naturally decline. And the problem is that this designation that VR has of being something for a special occasion has already happened. It is already advertised as something you do rarely. The only way to combat this, and change the public perception of VR is to ensure that in-home systems rises as quickly as arcades did. Another issue is that many of these VR experiences are designed for one use only. As well put together as many of them are, the experience quickly becomes stale after repeat uses. The end result, again, is that interest fades. People begin to attach negative connotations to the technology, and are less willing to queue and spend money. Again, revenue drops, and progress slows. Making it a re-doable experience will be what propels VR forward.
So as we can see, destination VR, whilst it has short term advantages, may be unable to take virtual reality technology to the next level. For that, the perception needs to change from a once in a while experience to something you can do every day. Allowing as many people as possible to experience VR is the only way to ensure that the technology advances at the rate it should.