Welcome to this week’s community discussion post! Thanks for taking a break from replaying the Last Jedi trailer long enough to give us a look. We promise not to take up too much of your time.
Next week is the F8 conference in San Jose. This is Facebook’s annual developer conference and the rumor mill is already churning that this year the Silicon Valley juggernaut will be unveiling new virtual reality hardware.
These rumors are coinciding with a groundswell of new patents filed by Facebook’s Oculus team that describe new methods of VR hand tracking. Even if Facebook does live up to the rumors, and shows us all something new for VR at F8, it’s likely it would only be in prototype form with months or even years before release. However, the aggression we’re seeing from Oculus and other VR companies like Valve when it comes to advancing VR hardware does raise the question: is the next wave of consumer VR hardware closer than we previously thought?
When the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR released last year it was naturally assumed that we wouldn’t be seeing any real improvements to these product lines for the foreseeable future. VR headsets are usually thought to be in similar vein as video game consoles which are traditionally only iterated upon once every 5-7 years or so.
However, the rapid pace of acceleration in VR may mean that top manufacturers will want to adopt more frenzied release plans for new and improved devices in order to maintain market share and stay ahead of potential competitors.
This year, we are already seeing new headsets cropping up from Microsoft and LG, but these seem to be cheaper or varied versions of the same feature sets we’re already seeing on the Vive and Rift.
The VR community is hungry for innovation and eager to support big strides where it can. The standards for being first to market in this industry get reset every time a new batch of hardware is released. HTC has been able to outpace Facebook by marketing one feature that the Rift did not have at launch: room-scale.
The race is on to see who will design and launch the next must-have feature first. But it’s seeming more likely that we’ll be hearing more about hardware upgrades in a matter of months, not years.
What do you think? Is the VR industry about to lurch forward once again? Or are all these rumors just a bunch of useless hype? Let us know in the comments below.