VR collapse is a ‘very real threat’

VR headsets could go the way of defunct game streaming services like OnLive.

That’s the warning from Network’s Neil Young, a senior games industry veteran and founder of mobile games publisher Ngmoco.

Young predicts that VR headsets will become a popular item, but not for another ‘three to five’ years, and that some businesses rushing into the sector could find themselves in trouble.

I think [a market collapse] is the biggest risk, and potentially the most likely outcome,” he told MCV. VR and AR right now are the new shiny thing. You’ve got to love it if you are a game maker who has been frustrated by how the console space has developed, because here is an opportunity to start building new and exciting things.

But there are a lot of speed bumps that we will encounter along the way.”

He said that wearing a VR headset has ‘social barriers’ and that users will only get the headset out for big events such as concerts, a big sporting final or a major game.

It will be even more of a hit-driven business,” he said. That, the barriers to entry, the cost, the medical issues… all of these things create this conundrum for the VR industry that has to be sorted through.

I can imagine VR going through the same thing that streaming went through where OnLive and Gaikai were here, and it was going to be the future where you don’t need a console anymore. Then it doesn’t quite happen: the funding dries up, someone shuts down and someone buys the patents. Yet over the arc of five or ten years, it will become an important facet of the games industry.”

He continued: It is the cycle of this industry, where we get a little ahead of ourselves. That is good and bad. If we didn’t think that way then we wouldn’t keep pushing forward, but we can sometimes get into difficulties. A killer app can change everything – but it is going to be harder than some imagine.”

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