That’s not hyperbole. When you plummet off a virtual building, your brain can’t comprehend that your fall isn’t happening in real life. You sweat, your stomach twirls inside out, and your brain releases the same painkilling chemicals it would if you were really about to die.
Then you turn on your virtual rocket pack and soar through the air away from your certain demise. Flying over the virtual metropolis like frickin’ Superman – there’s no feeling like it you’ve ever experienced.
Good point: “Facebook’s AR announcement today may end up serving as the ideal opening act for Apple” https://t.co/WEPqUSAKD9
— Tom Emrich (@tomemrich) April 19, 2017
Virtual Reality is In It’s Infancy – In Fact, It’s Barely Been Born
There are some chillingly impressive virtual reality experiences currently on the market, available from several platforms. The leading units available today are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
Here’s the thing, though. Both units require a Windows PC to drive the software. That’ll cost you about $1000 if you don’t have one already. The platforms themselves cost about $600-$800, depending on which you choose, which options you select, and which sales are in effect on your day of purchase.
Then you need games, which cost anywhere from $5 to $50. All told, a brand new user will need to fork over $2000 to really get the full experience. For this reason, no device is moving units in a world-conquering manner.
But someday someone will.
The Major Players
Facebook owns Oculus. There are plenty of reasons to own $FB, and the Rift is just another good one. The Oculus Rift is not the best VR platform on the market (that honor goes to the Vive), but its American presence is strong and with Zuckerberg money backing it, who knows when it could become a full-fledged hit.
HTC, the company behind the Vive, is a struggling technology company from Taiwan. Its stock price has fallen 90% since 2011, and its innovative expansion into virtual reality is unlikely to restore its former value. As a Taiwanese stock, you probably can’t invest in it without considerable time and expense. Even then, the HTC’s high pricetag and limited international marketing makes it unlikely to be a runaway hit anytime soon, even though it is head and shoulders above the competition as far as the user experience goes.
Google’s Cardboard ($GOOG) is another VR system on the market, but it is not in the same class as either competitor system already named. To users and analysts, Google looks like they are dipping their toes in the virtual pool, but have yet to commit the development resources to make their system a winner.
Sony ($SNE) will sell 120 Million Playstation 4’s by the time all is said and done. Their hush-hush VR expansion project will likely come to market in the next year. Being the first console to offer true VR would make the Playstation a contender for #1 in the VR market. But all we have is rumors and whispers now, so only time will tell.
Then there’s Apple. $AAPL has indicated that they’re going to step into VR in a big way in the coming years. I have preached the gospel of owning AAPL before, and I believe their hint at entering VR is another good reason to take a bite on this stock. Apple has a mountain of cash, and they need a hit. This could be their chance.
You really must try virtual reality. It’s so much more than gaming. The games are incredible, but so are the educational applications, the plotless immersive visual experiences, even the form’s ramifications for pornography – none of these can be denied.
For now, Look to Facebook, Sony, and Apple for coming VR innovations, with the possibility of Google making a power play. There are endless other reasons to buy these companies.
A new independent company may come to the vanguard of the form and have a hit, but for now, rely on these big players and hope they have the ingenuity to create the virtual future.