Update to my VR bet with Greg Linden

I have an ongoing bet with Greg Linden stating that we are going to sell 10 million virtual-reality (VR) units per year by 2019.

I have been paying close attention to VR technology and its impact.

What have we learned in the last few months?

  • The technology is fantastic. VR headsets work.
  • The software is currently the weak point. Besides games and “experiences”, we simply have no compelling application. And while there are some good games, none of them is good enough to motivate millions into purchasing a VR headset.
  • A nice surprise: Sony has managed to make VR work with the relatively underpowered PlayStation 4. The initial reports are very positive. I think that’s important: it shows that relatively weak and inexpensive processors are sufficient for VR.

I key indicator is how many VR headsets Sony manages to sell over Christmas.

Daniel Lemire, "Update to my VR bet with Greg Linden," in Daniel Lemire's blog, October 17, 2016.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

3 thoughts on “Update to my VR bet with Greg Linden”

  1. Yep. Pretty much agree with this. Hardware is adequate (though bulky and expensive). Software is missing. Very compelling applications that would justify the cost missing, though games, porn, and education are potentially big ones. That’s pretty close to what the Ars article (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/10/best-vr-headset-2016-psvr-rift-vive/) said too.

    The bet still could go either way from what I’m seeing. I lean toward my direction — that it won’t make it by 2019 — but it’s definitely got a chance of going either way. In that sense, it was a fun bet to make, definitely a good contest.

    1. Right. I also would not say that I am winning… and there are definitively many things going your way… but there are a few factors that are in my favor as well, mostly on the hardware side. As I stress in my blog post, the good reviews that the relatively inexpensive PS VR got are very encouraging. For a time, it looked like the hardware “had to” be expensive. I did not take for granted that Sony could pull it off… many people were skeptical that the PS4 was “powerful enough” for VR. It seems that it is. Also, AMD came up with cards in the $200 range that are perfectly adequate for even the HTC Vive.

      1. Definitely agree with everything you’re saying. I’d add that the Google Pixel phone (https://vr.google.com/daydream/phones/) is a very interesting addition, doubling down on Google Cardboard, but in a way that’s quite clever. Great point too on the PS4 and the possibilities that this might be an add on to consoles (like the Kinect was).

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