Covid-19 distancing gives real boom to virtual reality

By: |
May 21, 2020 5:45 AM

Then, Apple, a week or so ago, announced its first significant VR acquisition—NextVR, which produces VR content—ahead of its scheduled VR headset launch.

VR devices also need significant internet bandwidth to operate and, at present, many developing economies do not have the wherewithal to manage this.VR devices also need significant internet bandwidth to operate and, at present, many developing economies do not have the wherewithal to manage this. (Representative image)

With Covid-19 distancing eroding the real world experience for most, virtual reality’s (VR’s) star is on the rise. Again. While work-from-home meant video-conferencing, file-sharing, etc, apps saw a surge in downloads, life-at-home has thrown a lifeline to VR, which had seen excitement simmer down since the halcyon days of the Facebook-Oculus deal in March 2014. Indeed, as analysis by Venture Beat shows, 1Q 2020 saw deal size and volume in the space shrink to 2013 levels.

Then, Apple, a week or so ago, announced its first significant VR acquisition—NextVR, which produces VR content—ahead of its scheduled VR headset launch.

Apple is not the only company upbeat about VR’s prospects; across channels, companies are looking to expand their portfolio by hosting virtual conferences and exhibitions, and most believe that this will be the trend for the next few years, or even permanently for some companies, if they realise there are significant gains from work-from-home. However, a significant driver of VR’s success is innovation and pricing. While Facebook launched a lower-priced product in the market, other companies have hefty asks for their VR gear. Until costs come down, buyers may not be that enthused. Innovation is also paramount; companies have bettered their products using facial expression recognition, hand tracking, and eyeball tracking, but these technologies and features built on them are still in the nascent stage. VR devices also need significant internet bandwidth to operate and, at present, many developing economies do not have the wherewithal to manage this. The sector is certainly set for a boom; all it needs now is the right innovation, especially that which brings down costs.

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