Virtual Reality ‘Has the Attention’ of U.S. Consumers: Survey

Oculus Rift
Courtesy of Oculus

American gamers are paying attention to virtual reality, according to a new survey.

Frank N. Magid Associates found that of the 70 percent of the U.S. that play some type of game, a 56 percent majority have heard of VR. A quarter of the gamer respondents to the survey said they were “very interested” in “virtual reality experience in the home.” A 23 percent sized group called themselves “interested.”

But gaming is not actually the content that draws the most desire from VR technology. Movies and TV topped the list at 66 percent, console and PC gaming was 59 percent, music videos were at 41 percent, travel at 39 percent, and sports at 38 percent.

“In these super early days of virtual reality, it is certain that many American consumers are primed to try this new technology/media platform,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid.

Whether or not American consumers are excited enough to put their money where their mouth is remains to be seen. Although Google Cardboard is cheap and the already released Samsung Gear VR is a respectable $99, the Oculus Rift announced early this week will sell for a hefty $600. While the Playstation VR device Morpheus hasn’t been given an official price, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said during the Tokyo Game Show this past September it will be priced as a new gaming platform. Sony’s current gaming platform, the PS4, currently runs for $350.

That’s a lot of money to be shelling out for what could be a gimmicky way to consume media. And as far as gamers are concerned, they’ve shown in the past that while alternative ways to play games like motion control (Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move) and hands-free controls (Xbox Kinect) will occupy them for a time, the players usually return to the traditional controller.

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