Virtual reality has been discussed intensively over the past few years, ever since the initial announcement of the Oculus Rift. When people talk about virtual reality, they talk about gaming, and that is, of course, the main field of virtual reality at the moment. However, does the technology have the potential to evolve into something more? Could we use virtual reality as a training field for future astronauts or surgeons?
According to Steam, the world's biggest game distribution platform, only 0.18% of PC Gamers own a VR headset. This comes as no surprise considering that there are three large factors at play.
Virtual reality is still new and "scary" for most consumers. It took a lot to develop the technology until it was ready for consumer release, and most headsets at the moment are either unavailable due to their stock (Oculus Rift), are not convincing enough (Gear VR), or are not even released yet (PlayStation VR).
Another important factor is the ridiculous price of the headsets and the PC requirements. All curent VR headsets for PC gaming are extremely pricey, and for some reason, their price is hiking. An Oculus Rift is the cheapest choice at the moment, and that headset starts at 600 dollars, not including tax and shipping. If you also take into consideration the fact that you would need at least 700 dollars to build a PC capable of running virtual reality without any problems, it's easy to see why people shy away from the new technology.
Even if people still find the extra money to spend on a VR headset, they are quickly confronted with another problem: the Steam library of VR games is extremely small, and most titles are negligible. You can count the worthwile VR titles on your fingers. Of course, if you look past the Steam library, you can see that a lot of games have third-party VR support, such as Grand Theft Auto V, or Skyrim.
If you are feeling discouraged about the future of virtual reality after reading these factors, you shouldn't be. All of these problems will easily be overcome in time: as the technology will progress, it will become cheaper, and, as a result, more popular. Game publishers will see this and will start asking their development teams to create VR titles, or to adapt older titles to VR. In fact, the technology has so much potential, that it could even be used as a tool for many companies that have training courses.
Whether you agree or not with the way gaming will evolve, VR will keep on taking over as much attention as it needs until it will become the primary choice for gamers worldwide.