The people best able to afford VR have the least interest in the gaming associated with VR adoption

    
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lol

Well, here’s a fun one. Research firm Quantic Foundry took a look at the statistical breakdown for surveys about VR purchase plans and existing VR headset purchases between November 2016 and February 2019. The questions asked about the satisfaction of those who had bought in, inquired about the plans of those who hadn’t, and attempted to build some correlation between the data sets. As it turns out, the age brackets most likely to buy into VR were older, with adoption rates highest among respondents above age 36+ (where the rates still peaked at 34.5%).

Why? Well, the surveys also found that enthusiasm for VR tended to be highest among those who valued excitement and destruction as their primary reasons for playing… which also are the two fields that diminish the most as players get older. In short, the people most excited about VR headsets are more likely to be the people who can’t afford them, and the people best able to afford them are least likely to be interested. This may tie into the declining interest of developers and consumers. Aren’t statistics fun?

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Crowe

Yup, I can afford VR just fine (and can even write it off for business) but have zero interest in it.

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Fenrir Wolf

I feel I must be at an intersection as I both have and value VR experiences!

In fact, there’s this one dragonflight simulator I’m positively jonesing for. Lots of jones in my ing for that one. Wossit called? Lesse ‘ere… Dragon Skies VR! That’s the one. Just look at those ruddy airships, tres Jules Verne. A little more authentic than the usual steampunk fare. A little janky, too, given its indie proclivities but that’s very forgivable.

Both Rhombus of Ruin and Moss were utterly delightful, too. I’d be almost tempted to say especially one or the other, there, but they were both so delightful. I couldn’t choose.

Admittedly, I managed to get a really good VR setup on the cheapsies but, sshh… seeeecrets.

No. Not even off the back of a lorry.

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Sally Bowls

I was watching Leo Laporte’s “THIS WEEK IN TECH 708.” The guest who I shall absolutely not name mentioned The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality by Blake J. Harris. The other guest was Amy Webb (professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern School of Business.) They briefly talked about the end of the cell phone era. She consulted on Hulu’s First and she pointed out there were no cell phones in this near future movie. But you could drag and drop a movie playing on your glasses to someone nearby’s glasses. So if you are still salty about cell phones impacting your PC gaming, take comfort that cell phones will also be superseded. But in ten or fifteen years, if your cellphone has been replaced by smart glasses, then perhaps even gaming companies can leverage the better hardware.

FWIW, i.e. not much, I think AR will contribute more to the adoption of xR than VR would but the hockey stick growth does not start until the Apple AR iPhone launches, albeit a couple of years after Scoble and the pundits originally said.

P.S.:
Amy pointed out discussions about future tech inevitably mentions flying cars. But the first flying was patented / “demoed” in 1917 with a new prototype every decade since then. The latest is Boeing’s autonomous air taxi.

Amy’s husband is an eye doctor; remember the China discussion? Computer Vision Syndrome seems to be real and within a couple of decades, a large majority of the west will be nearsided. I.e., your parents were correct, gaming is unhealthy. :-)

Speaking of China, Amy’s new book is: The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

“Webb articulated that these nine companies have the most control over popular frameworks used by developers, cloud computing, research, and data, and therefore will shape the future of AI. With companies like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, China is already poised to become the world’s unchallenged AI hegemon, a development Webb isn’t sure is good for the future of humanity. – VentureBeat”

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Fenrir Wolf

You’re admirably grounded in reality. I really can’t imagine what that’s like. I don’t have enough of an interest in humanity to follow along in such a way, even if I am fascinated. I mean, I’m curious, but once an alien has been ousted enough, they get the message.

And I imagine that for the extroverted audiences, AR will be where it’s at since it’s the junction between immersion and this reality they favour. The one that I’m always too busy trying to escape. My dream, naturally, is for full dive VR. I’d rather not have a .Hack//Wotsits or Sword Art Wossnames experience, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t be one of the early adopters.

Sensate VR to any degree of sensory fidelity? Let me just sign up to have a jack installed somewhere in me noggin! I want full body werewolf parkour and also flying as a dragon.

Okay, I think I’m just trying to tick off Grammarly now by being too British. Regardless, I can’t really relate to such a grounded post, but I admire it nonetheless.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

The tech still isn’t there, and what is there is mostly locked behind proprietary bullshit.

For $700 I can get a decent monitor and a head tracking rig and have a better gaming experience.

I use 2D FPS head-tracking goggles with my drone, and it’s amazing. I’d be more inclined to use something like that — just a tiny 2k 144hz monitor stuck to my face, and spare me the hand-waving joysticks and stumbling over cords. I’ll keep my chair, my keyboard and my mouse.

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Fenrir Wolf

I’ve found I simply enjoy using a controller with the addition of being able to look around by myself. I tried the motion controllers, room tracking, and all of the assorted gubbins, but I still prefer just using a controller with the VR headset on. It’s the best of both worlds for me. Since I now have 360 degree vision (the largest monitor conceivable), coupled with a more traditional control method.

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Anstalt

Not surprised.

VR headsets were a gimmick from day one (when it comes to gaming). You cannot have your head in virtual reality and your body in the real world and have it feel good! It simply doesn’t work for the overwhelming majority of game genres. Combine that with all the issues surrounding user input and it’s no wonder VR hasn’t done well. Ive personally set myself a limit for VR – once the headsets are under £100, I’ll consider buying one.

I’m not saying the tech is rubbish by any means, it’s pretty cool and I’m glad it was invented. Its just not suitable for gaming.

Now, once we have developed tech enough to get your whole body into VR (e.g. a suspended exoskelton with force feedback) then it’ll be ready for gaming!

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Fenrir Wolf

Really? It works for me. It’s just a matter of immersion. One forgets one is using the controller after a while and it feels natural, one loses oneself in the game. Or, at least, I do. I mean, I can’t speak from any other perspective than my own. To me, it feels really good.

I do wonder if this is a facet of my autism and my ability to immerse myself in an experience so deeply. At the end of the day, it’s just imagination. A VR headset is little more than a fancy monitor. If one is able to game with a monitor display, then surely one ought to be able to game with what is, essentially, a monitor++?

I can’t quite wrap my mind around the disconnect.

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Anstalt

So, as I don’t have my own headset, my experience is limited to playing on friends sets and a couple of times at work.

What I’ve found is that in games that require your in game characters’ body to move, the disconnect between movement and what you see is very jarring. My head is in the game, so when I see something coming towards me, my body wants to move. BUT, moving my body does nothing, I have to use the controllers to actually move in game and that is where the disconnect comes in. My head and my body are experiencing two very different things and every time this occurs, I feel disappointed.

The same is not true when your character doesn’t have to move. So, racing games and space sims. My character in game doesn’t move, so the fact my body in real life also doesn’t move means they are in sync. When you combine this with a wheel and pedals for racing, or hotas for space sims, the experience gets even better. However, there aren’t a huge amount of games where you character doesn’t move, so I won’t shell out lots of money for just a couple of games.

With input devices, it depends on the game. If you’re using mouse and keyboard then VR headsets suck unless you’re really good at touch typing (or the controls are simple). If you’re using a gamepad, it’s fine in terms of registering input, but there is still the disconnect. If you’re using motion control, well, I just hate them! Motion controls give you such limited input options that the gameplay is reduced to something so simple it can’t hold my attention. Beyond that, there is no realistic feedback, just some vibration, which again creates a massive disconnect between my head and body. If I swing a sword and the opponent parries, my arm in real life will still follow through on the swing and so the gameplay becomes disjointed.

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Jeremy Barnes

The disinterest with VR are things outside the straight up VR technology…like controls, comfort of headsets, not being wireless, etc.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

I was promised affordable VR by 1994 in an issue of Computer Gaming World back in 1992. Hell, I am pretty sure I first heard about the concept of virtual reality when Jimmy Carter was president, and it became something of a staple of science fiction by the 80s. As a viable consumer technology it hasn’t continued to recede into the future the way something like the flying car has, but it seems to stumble over every adoption prediction.

As one of those in the “can afford, not interested” demographic, it still strikes me as a very niche item. Most applications seem very much like demos for the tech rather than a killer app that would get me to strap one onto my face. If I was into something like flight sims, I might be on it. I played some EVE Valkyrie at EVE Vegas, and being able to look around was pretty cool. That seems like a decent marriage, though the blocking out of your environment does make putting hands on controls problematic at times.

I have heard that the current units can provide a very nice and immersive movie viewing experience, but for the price I am more inclined to spend money on a bigger/better TV that the whole family can use at once.

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David Blair

We use our PS VR. Beat Saber is to current VR what Dance Central was to Kinect. VR as a whole is still in its early-adopter phase. Software development has to play catch up with what’s currently available. There’s probably another two revs of hardware (then software) that will have to happen before the technology becomes prime-time for the masses and prices come down.

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Sergey Vishnivetsky

Very bad statistics. For me, virtual reality technology is a very promising technology, but it’s very difficult to implement. To reproduce the virtual world of average quality, you need to use powerful virtual reality helmets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and powerful additional equipment. Therefore, the cost of a set for play VR games is high (for example, a virtual reality helmet HTC Vive and a powerful PC). Therefore, many can not afford to buy these sets. But there are special centers of virtual reality where you can play various VR games. I often play VR games in the center of virtual reality in Melbourne – https://virivr.com.au/. Personally, I’m very interesting such games and I hope that this technology will be developed in the future.

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traja

VR definitely has issues no question about it but this particular revelation seems insanely obvious and pointless. Wealthy people tend to be older and also less interested in high end gaming. The wealthiest group would be 70+ year olds, and does anyone expect them to be into high end PCs and VR?

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Armsbend

It’s a good point. I always marvel when people celebrate the demographics of average gamers getting older – all that means is it is likely less and less money per user is being spent and young people are entering the market at a slower rate.

Baseball is a good example. The average fan is something like 52 years old. That means when the boomers die no one will be left watching. Same with games except it isn’t death that gets you out – it is responsibility and boredom.

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Sally Bowls

At least Capt Sisko will keep baseball alive.

Back when “the internet is disrupting business” was still news, the Atlanta newspaper’s survey showed the main reason customers were not renewing was because they had died.

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Anstalt

I think you missed the point of the statistics.

The stats are saying that the current crop of games available in the VR world are not appealing to gamers who can afford to buy VR headsets, so even though older gamers (36+) have the highest adoption rates, they aren’t buying the games because they’re childish and thus VR is stagnating already.

Which makes total sense to me.

The mindless violence and simplistic gameplay that used to entertain me as a child have long since lost their appeal. I need deep gameplay systems to keep me entertained, something that so far hasn’t been achieved in the majority of VR games and likely never will, due to issues with control input.

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traja

It doesn’t say that. It says that excitement and destruction are the best predictors of VR adoption. It doesn’t in any way comment that the content being offered for VR is geared towards excitement and destruction.

It also says that fantasy and discovery increase satisfaction among adopters. So basically it is a case of expectations not meeting reality. Meaning that what people expect to enjoy in VR is not what they end up enjoying the most. Generally speaking of course.

Age then comes into play in that people lose interest in excitement and destruction over time, and those are the things that drive adoption the most but not sustained use.

That’s the logic and findings behind the title of this post. The end result though is just older people being less interested in the latest tech gadgets. Which is not exactly a surprising find.

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Anstalt

We came away with very different interpretations of the article and the stats!

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traja

It’s not a question of interpretation entirely. They didn’t study what content was available to VR so any assumptions made based on that are just that, assumptions.