QUT says VR needs to do better than disappointing over-hyped experiences

The university is concerned that a lack of exceptional experiences are deterring consumers away from all that virtual reality stands to deliver.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is concerned that over-hyping virtual reality (VR) experiences, such as for "thrill rides", could be setting the industry back from creating useful VR concepts in the future.

It also believes creators of VR content should be more mindful of hygiene, particularly when it comes to sharing headsets with many. Alongside this is the superficial concern of looking "foolish" in VR goggles.

Listing five main concerns in total, QUT believes VR ride-makers are placing too much emphasis on making something educational rather than fun, which is setting back the idea of VR being a viable entertainment option.

"If creators don't get virtual reality right for thrill rides the concept of VR as entertainment could be set back years; mirroring its habit of riding waves of popularity before falling into obscurity over the past two decades," QUT said in a statement.

In parallel to this is the concern that consumers want a story along with the VR technology.

"Despite most vendors promoting the technology as the drawcard, consumers have consistently and clearly stated they want more story," QUT researcher Malcolm Burt said.

"I find this is quite charming. It means that despite flashy technology, we haven't changed that much from the cavemen and women we once were, sitting around the fire telling each other stories."

Burt is also concerned that the hype around the VR offering outweighs the actual experience.

"Another potential obstacle for the future of VR in this form is that the experiences are often over-hyped, as is fairly typical of most theme park experiences. This can lead to disappointment and cynicism among patrons," Burt said.

"There is always the danger that VR, rather than becoming a regular and expected part of entertainment and amusement, will return to the fringes where it has lurked for 20-plus years."

Entertainment is not only use case for VR and augmented reality (AR), however, as the technology offers other useful benefits.

Enterprise VR and AR use flourished in 2018, with Walmart using the tech for staff training, US prison inmates undergoing rehabilitation programs via VR and AR, firefighters using AR to keep personnel in the field battling California's wildfires informed, and doctors receiving training through the technology.

In September, IDC reported that shipments of VR headsets tanked 33.7 percent in the second quarter, but remained optimistic about the future of the tech, citing that the slump was mainly due to consumers struggling to see the value in VR due to a lack of content and difficulty in trying a headset.


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