I was recently checking into Reddit and saw a conversation on r/Oculus about the discussion on HN about Michael Seibel’s post on the YC Blog (I love when the internet gets meta like that). I moseyed on over to read the 500+ comments on HN and I couldn’t help but notice much of the overt cynicism surrounding VR and its current shortcomings. Below are my thoughts:
You can be on the ground floor of something amazing, regardless of current hardware specs or platform insufficiencies… and that’s what’s incredible. You’ll almost certainly never have the chance to redefine the web or mobile or the desktop, no matter how radical your approach may be. The great thing about VR right now is that you can define what it is. You get to be one of the first to pick up the pieces and create a compelling use-case out of a growing technology.
Existing markets are saturated beyond belief — just look at how stagnant the Top 100 lists are in the iOS App Store and on Google Play compared to where they were 5 or so years ago. People sell full iOS and Android project files for dirt cheap, pushing hundreds, if not thousands of copies of the same base app to the market. Everyone seems to be clamoring for marginal improvements on the same idea, while the opportunity for innovation diminishes.
VR isn’t WebTV, it isn’t a vaporware internet appliance, and it certainly isn’t a PDA, and even if these technologies failed in certain areas, they paved the way for smarter, more personal devices down the road, even if they took years to mature.
We are moving at a breakneck pace, contrary to how it may look from the outside, and we’ve all made incredible progress towards making VR usable, personal, and compelling. There is a growing industry that supports each other, distributes knowledge, and works towards making VR into something that everyone can find value in. VR has untouchable benefits over other platforms, and we’re all trying to utilize those in fun, imaginative ways.
The team at Holos and I have been working in VR for years now and I can say for certain that time spent learning this new medium is certainly not wasted — thinking about challenges in a spatial, 3D way takes time and I’m certain that this line of thinking is going to be needed in whatever platforms emerge in the next 10 years.
Aside from all of that, try not to be afraid of things that you don’t understand. There have been plenty of unconventional ideas in the past that, barring any logic, have broken into the mainstream with flying colors, and I truly believe that VR will be one of those pipe dreams.
My team and I are betting big in virtual reality because we not only see a huge opportunity to capture a strong, passionate user base, but to be the ones to define what VR is capable of 5 or 10 years down the road. We follow the “in a gold rush, sell picks and shovels” mentality, knowing fully that the best way to assert ourselves in the market is to enable everyone to first better their own experience in VR; then allow them to put their improvements in front of everyone else.
VR has loads of potential that we can’t even begin to imagine. That’s why myself, my team, and everyone else in the market is going all in. Our work isn’t done until we’ve proven that VR is here to stay.
If you’d like to chat, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can geek out about the future!
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