People testing Samsung's virtual reality Gear headset

Virtual reality to be part of everyday life in five years

Image credit: Reuters

Virtual reality will be a common part of everyday life as early as 2021, a survey suggests.

Although only 36 per cent of respondents to the survey by software developer The Foundry expressed interest in trying virtual reality in the upcoming year, the firm predicts that the immersive technology will gradually replace television, film and computer games.

“Our research shows that there is going to be an increasing appetite amongst consumers for high-quality VR headset content,” said Alex Mahon, chief executive at The Foundry.

“The fact that everyday experiences like watching sport are predicted to completely vanish for some people in favour of VR versions within five years is pretty incredible.”

About 12 per cent of the survey participants said they believed the traditional watching of sport on TV will be completely replaced by VR experiences.

However, the survey also revealed significant barriers for adoption. First of all, about 5 per cent of the survey participants reported unpleasant experiences such as nausea and claustrophobic feelings while using VR devices.

The survey also found that people are not willing to spend a lot of money on virtual reality gadgets. On average, the respondents were willing to spend £134 on virtual reality headsets, which is significantly less than consumers usually spend on laptops, PCs or game consoles.

“Hardware providers need to lower costs in the next iterations of their headsets if they want to break through to mass consumer adoption,” said Mahon.

“We need more VR content creators to start experimenting with narrative and experiences to ensure we get compelling content into the headsets.”

In 2016, several high-end virtual reality devices have been launched including Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR. The cheapest of them costs £349. The Rift and Vive also require a powerful gaming PC in order to run.

Low-cost virtual reality devices are also available, frequently using a user’s smartphone slotted into a headset to provide the screen, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

Google’s Daydream View, announced in September, costs £69 and comes with a handheld remote that can be used as a controller.

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