Is VR really in decline?

Have opinions and attitudes toward virtual reality shifted recently -- or are we already too familiar with the technology?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

VR was first introduced to the world in the early 1990s. It looked like it was about to explode commercially at the beginning of 2017. But has it performed as expected?

Lyon, France-based industry insights companyReportLinker conducted research on the virtual reality trend to find out if the predictions were true.

Its results show that awareness, opinions, and adoption have declined.

The near future does not look so pretty for VR.

Although North America is the biggest commercial investor in AR and VR (as of the end of 2017), the fact is that currently the technology is not at the forefront of the everyday American's mind.

They are less familiar with VR now than they were in 2017 or even 2016.

Over half (56 percent) of Americans say that they have heard about the technology but are not able to explain it to a friend -- a 10-point increase since 2017.

Almost a quarter (23 percent) are very familiar with it and can explain what it is (minus 13 points since 2017).

Is VR really in decline zdnet
(Image: Report Linker)

Following its initial survey in 2017, the main findings show that almost one in six (14 percent) of people have already experienced VR. 

When asked about VR's leading brands, less than one in three (28 percent) of them can name an industry leader without any hints or clues, and only 37 percent show familiarity when brand names are suggested.

Virtual reality is not a big mystery -- over half of respondents (56 percent) say that the phrase rings a bell.

Unfortunately, respondents would have a hard time explaining it to relatives or friends who are in the dark about it. However, respondents today are more likely to possess only this vague comprehension of VR compared to those from just two or three years ago.

Sony and Oculus are mentioned now off the top of respondents' heads as leading brands less than one-tenth of the time with 8 percent of mentions for each.

Industry leader Samsung's Gear VR was mentioned without any prompting 20 percent of the time by survey respondents in 2017, more so than 8 percent for Sony or Oculus.

Consumers remain positive-minded about the technology. Almost two out of three (62 percent) of respondents replied that they have a positive attitude toward virtual reality.

However, there were 14 percent fewer "enthusiastic" respondents in the most recent survey than there were in 2017.

If investors believe that VR and AR is a sleeping giant that it about to awaken, they probably will have a long, long wait.

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