Oculus Founder and pioneer in the VR industry, Palmer Luckey, has said that he doesn’t think any current VR hardware, or upcoming VR hardware, is good enough to go mainstream. He added that even with a price of $0 the current VR experiences available wouldn’t gain traction with large audiences because they aren’t engaging enough.
In a blog post Luckey titled, Free isn’t Cheap Enough, he wrote that he believes sales aren’t a good enough way of assessing the success of VR. He thinks that sales are a meaningless metric when it comes to VR, and that the only meaningful one is weekly active users who are logging in and spending money regularly.
According to Luckey recent experiments with cheaper VR headsets, such as the Oculus Go, have shown that there are millions of people who will invest in the technology and use it initially. However, these users don’t continue to invest in the VR ecosystem, with the purchase of further software, and there are even consumers who have free VR headsets in the form of Google Cardboard that simply gather dust on forgotten shelves.
The reason for the lack of continued investment in the technology, according to Luckey, is a lack of quality in the experiences available. The lack of quality in this area, he says, is caused by developers investing in VR technology in order to bring down the price of hardware.
Luckey goes on to make what he calls a bold claim in the blog post. He says that even with a price of $0 most people in the developed free world would cease to use VR technology, adding that if everyone was give a Rift and a PC, they would only use it for a matter of weeks at most, ending by saying that no imminent or existing VR technology is good enough for the mainstream market.
Citing data from real world testing Lucky points out that there is a core demographic of users, mainly gamers, who are enraptured by VR technology today. The issue isn’t with this demographic, but with those outside of it, causing a steep drop off in the stickiness of VR.
Luckey’s final comments on the matter express his opinion that free isn’t cheap enough for most people when it comes to VR. He says that the cost of the technology isn’t what’s holding most people back either actively or passively from buying into the market, it’s simply the lack of content available.