Tech.pinions Podcast: Potential Winners and Losers in VR/AR Platforms

Carolina Milanesi, Jan Dawson, and Ben Bajarin discuss who is best positioned to compete in the future VR/AR platform wars.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

15 thoughts on “Tech.pinions Podcast: Potential Winners and Losers in VR/AR Platforms”

  1. I don’t think the VR will scale is anything like Smartphones or even TVs.

    I think VR is much more niche. Like dedicated Home Theater rooms, or at best Game Console type numbers.

    1. If all it stayed was in its current form then I agree. But with where we can gauge its headed its going to be pretty big. It really has the potential to disrupt TV, and knowing humans like I do, those entertainment experiences alone will be compelling. Price will come way down, they will be stand-alone units, the content ecosystem will be vast and the social problem, which may not be as big of a problem as people think with younger people, will get solved.

      1. My take on humans, is we don’t like putting big obtrusive things on our face.

        I don’t see this disrupting TV at all, which is easy, casual and often multi-tasked experience.

        The average usage stats I saw for Google Cardboard was 5 minutes of youtube VR watching. Considering that would be one of the main usages, it was probably tried once and shoved in a drawer for most people.

        I also see a lot of negative reports from high end units (Rift/Vive) on tech forums that I read.

        I think VR is heavily over-hyped by a technology industry desperate for the “next big thing”.

        AR will be a slower burn but I think it is a long term winner for practical applications.

        1. All the market critiques are of VR today not of the potential of where it goes. The immersive experience will be quite compelling and enough to overcome any issues of putting things on our face, even if that is not the form factor it ends with.

          All the arguments against it disrupting TV are also done with incorrect assumptions about the role of the TV. There will still be social experiences around a larger screen but more and more hours are shifting to long form video consumption in isolation by consumers across the globe. Meaning by themselves, and the social element is happening digitally. The younger generation/s are trending heavily in this direction. I don’t expect the older generations to embrace this but once the non-tech generations have moved on these types of things will be the norm.

          1. You can’t simply hand-wave away all critiques/arguments against VR.

            I spend at lot of time on hard core computer gaming forums. These are the the potential customer base for VR gaming (Vive/Rift), the people who currently buy triple SLI video cards and Triple Monitors. Yet there is surprisingly not a huge interest in strapping in to play with VR on a regular basis.

            Naturally there is a contingent VR fans, but these are now starting to receive the gear and the hype is quickly being replaced with complaints/disappointment.

            VR is a novelty right now, and novelty/magic wears off all experiences. When it does you left with all the hassles.

            “Before I owned a Rift, I’d see a game and wonder how cool it would be to
            play in virtual reality. Today, I see a game and wonder if it’s worth
            the hassle to drag my Rift out of the closet and connect a half dozen
            cords just to try to capture that magic I felt the first time I wore it.”

          2. I think you’re missing the point. I agree with you actually, about today’s VR. But it is obvious VR will evolve quickly. Imagine 20 years ago lugging a Mac with you everywhere you went, what a hassle. Now fast forward to the iPhone, which is a Mac in your pocket. Not much of a hassle anymore.

            Probably within ten years, a VR experience will not involve dragging a large headset out of a closet and connecting half a dozen cords. It will be as simple as putting on glasses (which I already do every day).

          3. The problem with the “skip ahead to when everything is perfect and it will sell” scenarios, is that the product has to survive and make money in the interim. People still lug Macs BTW. Phones don’t replace laptops.

            Also it will never be like a pair of glasses. VR needs complete light blocking.

            LG realeased some fairly lightweight goggles and they got slammed for letting light in:

            So it needs bulk and gaskets. Always going to be obtrusive, isolating.

          4. It will survive and make money, as you’ve already said (home theatre or game console type sales numbers). But it is obvious the tech will evolve. Lightweight goggles that block all light have existed for a long time. Do you ski? If not it’s no wonder you’re not aware of this. I used to ski a fair bit as a teenager, had many pairs of sunglasses with side shields, they’re great. Yes, yes, today’s VR tech won’t fit in that form factor, no need to tell me that. I’m thinking ten years out.

            I agree that VR will always be isolating, in the sense that you mean, but again you’re missing the reality that VR can actually be very social and ‘connective’, especially for the next generation. My kids are disconnected by our old standards, but very connected by their own norms. They have good friends they’ve never met in person. Oh those aren’t really friends you might say. Well, that’s your norm, which they do not share.

          5. Skiing goggles are not equal to sunglasses. Which is what you were saying at first. I have gone skiing and skiing goggles are also uncomfortable.

            Sunglasses with side shields are no better (in fact worse) than LGs solution.

            Isolation is a negative factor for public usage, as you are essentially blind/vulnerable.

          6. Yeah, sorry for the confusion. I used sunglasses with side shields when I was skiing. I also had many different kinds of ski goggles as well, all very comfortable and light, some were larger and some were smaller. I also weld on the farm and have welder’s goggles, which also block light (which is kind of critical when you weld) and they’re also comfortable, easy to put on and take off.

            I looked at the LG headset you linked to, the kind of shielded sunglasses I had would definitely block light better than the LG headset. So would my welder’s goggles. And both would be far more comfortable.

            But you’re right, today’s VR tech isn’t advanced enough yet. The point stands though, it is obvious that it will be within ten years, maybe less. Your social concerns are exactly that, your concerns.

            Not sure about public use, I don’t think I ever said anything about using VR in public. I agree, VR use in public, as in walking around outside with other people, that probably can’t work well.

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