Editor’s note: Nick Wingfield and I worked together at CNET News when I was the Editor. He’s now at The New York Times and has a sobering writeup on the hype behind virtual reality — a technology our County is gambling on for economic development, largely through its over $600,000 multi-year investment in initiatives of the Economic Resource Council. Nick is spot on, as all of us who have written extensively about technology in Silicon Valley know:
“For a technology to crack the mainstream, there is an unspoken understanding: It shouldn’t make the people who use it want to throw up,” the New York Times is reporting.
“And yet there was a reminder, at last week’s International CES trade show in Las Vegas, of how far virtual reality has to go until everyone is ready to fasten 3-D goggles to their faces. At a news conference, Intel, the chip maker, provided virtual reality headsets to about 250 attendees so they could watch a 3-D video from the perspective of sky divers hurtling out of a helicopter in wingsuits. Intel also passed out motion sickness bags to everyone, in case anybody felt inclined to vomit, an unfortunate side effect of turbulent virtual reality experiences for some people.
“Laura Anderson, an Intel spokeswoman, said the company had provided the bags ‘out of an abundance of caution and to be tongue in cheek about our immersive experience.’ No one used the bags, she said.
“It is time for a reality check for virtual reality, one of the most hyped technologies of last year. Sales of the most capable headsets have been sluggish by most estimates, held back by high costs, a lack of must-have content, and the complexity and awkwardness of the products. Less expensive mobile headsets that use smartphones as their screens are selling better, but are far more limited in what they can do.”
The rest of the article is here.