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Gartner quashes thoughts of virtual reality boom in 2016

Manufacturers such as HTC, Sony and even Facebook are looking to cash in on their virtual Reality investments during 2016. Virtual Reality headsets have been in development for that last few years and products such as the HTC Vive, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus “Rift” and Samsung’s “Rink” will soon be available for sale.

These VR headsets are capable of delivering an immersive entertainment experience, though the focus is mainly on gaming.

Bloomberg claims that more than 40 exhibitors will be demonstrating VR products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 taking place this week in Las Vegas, which is a 77 per cent increase from 2015.

However, before we get over excited about the prospect of VR headsets becoming commodity items any time soon, we have to realise that, according to research firm Gartner, the high-end PC’s that are required to run a VR experience form just 1 per cent of the 1.43 billion PCs expected to be in use globally in 2016.

Indeed the largest maker of computer graphics chips, Nvidia, points out that while VR headsets will be out this year, the technical issues lies in the fact that just 13 million PCs have the power to fuel a Virtual Reality (VR) experience.

The technical issues are because even high performance PC gaming systems cannot meet the required Frames Per Second (FPS) rates required to deliver a quality VR experience, indeed most will likely, due to slower FPS rates, induce motion sickness. In order for a PC system to handle VR experience it needs to be able to handle 90FPS, high end PC and current game consoles manage 30 and 60 FPS respectively, so there is some way to go to bridge the gap.

As Mark Zuckerberg highlighted during a recent earnings call, “There already is some very good content,” he said. "But until there are millions of units out in the market, I don’t expect that to be a big industry for folks to be investing a huge amount in 2016."

Image source: Shutterstock/Wayne0216