Vir­tual re­al­ity makes splash, but not ready for prime time

Times of Oman - - MARKE -

LAS VE­GAS: Vir­tual re­al­ity showed off its spec­tac­u­lar side at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES), whisk­ing peo­ple onto hockey are­nas, base­ball fields and even into the in­ter­net with an­i­mated film trou­ble-maker “Wreck-it Ralph.”

But even with the im­pres­sive vi­su­als, VR ap­peared to be in the slow lane to­ward mass adop­tion, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts and in­dus­try at­ten­dees at the mas­sive tech­nol­ogy trade show.

“VR is not dy­ing or fail­ing; it is con­tin­u­ing to progress well,” said Dan O’Brien, Amer­i­cas re­gion gen­eral man­ager at Tai­wan-based HTC, which makes Vive vir­tual re­al­ity gear.

“We see the gap be­tween how peo­ple are us­ing VR and how they use their other com­put­ing de­vices, and we are work­ing re­ally hard to solve for those things so we can re­ally bring it to mass mar­ket adop­tion.”

HTC packed a casino ball­room with vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ences, some of which showed off eye­track­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties newly built into Vive.

“Home Run Derby” cre­ated by US Ma­jor League Base­ball let peo­ple step up to a vir­tual home plate and hit balls out of a dig­i­tal park.

Fidelity In­vest­ments let peo­ple step into fi­nan­cial port­fo­lios, en­ter­ing a dig­i­tal world where share prices were all around.

HTC is work­ing with Fire­fox browser maker Mozilla and Ama­zon’s cloud ser­vices team to en­able web­sites to pro­vide on­line ac­cess us­ing eye-pop­ping vir­tual re­al­ity.

While O’Brien wouldn’t spec­ify fig­ures, he said Vive sales were steadily grow­ing, with in­ter­est heat­ing up for busi­ness or pro­fes­sional use.

“It’s not main­stream, and it shouldn’t be main­stream this year,” O’Brien said. in vir­tual re­al­ity, for ex­am­ple, is harm­less com­pared to what might hap­pen in the real world. HTC de­mon­stra­tions in­cluded VR soft­ware to coach peo­ple on pub­lic speak­ing. “There will be a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple who are in­tro­duced to VR in ei­ther an ar­cade or an of­fice,” O’Brien said. As­so­ci­a­tion se­nior di­rec­tor Ben Arnold quipped in ref­er­ence to Tes­la­suit. Most of the VR of­fer­ings on the show floor were aimed at gamers, no­to­ri­ous early adopters of tech the pro­vides in­tense play.


UN­DER CON­TROL: An at­tendee wears a HTC Vive vir­tual re­al­ity head­set as he tries a Simx­pe­ri­ence in-home auto rac­ing sim­u­la­tor at the Earth­quake booth dur­ing CES 2019 on Tues­day at the Las Ve­gas Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada.-

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