Why You Should Wait To Get Into Virtual Reality

The next generation of high-quality virtual reality devices will appear on store shelves in 2016. Notable among these are the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. As with any new technology, there will be technophiles who will run out to Best Buy and immediately indulge. These are the same folks you see camping outside of Apple stores the night before the company inevitably releases the newest iPhone. But consumers with only a passing interest in VR should probably wait to see if the technology actually catches fire. Here are a few reasons to not immediately get swept up in VR fever...

Virtual reality might still be a fad

The path to the Oculus Rift and others is littered with the mechanical corpses of many similarly high-profile virtual reality devices. Many of these technologies possessed an equivalent level of hype as the Oculus Rift, but were still met with consumer indifference. Might the current wave of virtual reality share the same fate? On a side note, people continue to use
screens/monitors in conjunction with their computers and video game consoles. It will take quite a revolution to change a habit that's been a mainstay of home electronics since the 1980s. 

Price point

The current price of the Oculus Rift is approximately $600. The PlayStation VR will cost about $400. HTC's Vive is almost $800! These prices are not prohibitively expensive, but they will nevertheless give some consumers pause. After all, little Timmy's braces don't pay for themselves. Consumers also have to own a high-end computer to even use the Rift or Vive. This can add as much as a thousand bucks to the overall price tag. For the PlayStation VR, you need to own a PlayStation 4 and also pony up $60 for the PlayStation Camera. Non-virtual reality is expensive enough.

Health effects

Users complained that many of the virtual reality devices from the 1990s caused headaches, nausea, and physical discomfort. The Spanish Inquisition only wished they had access to the Virtual Boy for interrogations. We advise you to observe what consumer health complaints arise from the use of the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and HTC Vive before blowing your savings on these products. The question of ergonomics is especially important. Over time, even using a computer monitor can cause neck strain. What similar health problems might the  prolonged use of VR goggles cause? We just don't know yet. Better to let the super-fans buy in and suffer the chronic back pain you could've had.

Lack of compelling software

The video game industry is one of the most vocal proponents VR technology. Many of the VR-compatible games, like Chronos for the Oculus Rift (see above), look impressive. Players should wait, however, until the reviews come in for these titles. The history of various video game consoles—from the Sega Saturn to the Wii U—demonstrate that it often takes developers a year or so from the system's launch before "must-have" games appear. Aside from this, video game consoles have had a long history of neat-looking peripherals with meager software
support. Vintage gamers may fondly remember the R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) accessory for the NES...but they might forget that Nintendo only created a whopping two games for it. There are even more reasons to wait if you aren't a gamer. See first if developers create  software that appeals to you personally or is custom-made to your particular industry, like medicine,  education, or even real estate.

Technological natural selection

With three major VR headsets on the market in 2016, it's inevitable that at least one will fall by the wayside. Remember the debate between rival technologies like Blu-Ray and HD DVD? The unfortunate consumers who bet on the latter are stuck with a limited library of movies and aging disc players. You're taking a gamble by immediately buying the HTC Vive over the Oculus Rift or vice versa. You may want to wait a few months to see which VR headset fares the best. You don't want to pay big bucks only to wind up with an unsupported hunk of plastic. They might be useful additions for your steampunk cosplay though...

Robot apocalypse

Those unfortunate souls who closely interact with computers will likely be among the first to face the wrath of our mechanical overlords. Best case scenario, you will become a human battery like in The Matrix. Worst case, you'll be an unwilling soldier who's forced to hunt your fellow humans to extinction. Wouldn't you rather die in the robopocalypse knowing you remained loyal to humanity?