Unity CEO: VR Price Problems Will ‘Solve Themselves’ In 2018/19

by Jamie Feltham • September 13th, 2017

We might have seen big price drops on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive recently, and Microsoft’s new headsets are the cheapest yet, but VR remains an expensive proposition. The head of Unity says that problem will solve itself very soon.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Unity CEO John Riccitiello looked towards the future of VR, referencing the tech’s “slow start” with consumers.

“Commercial applications are taking off like crazy, but sure, generally speaking, the consumer side of VR is off to a slow start,” Riccitiello said. “The hardware is too expensive; it’s not that functional. Those problems will solve themselves by the 2018-2019 time frame, which is what I’ve been saying since 2015.”

Indeed he has; Riccitiello famously predicted a “gap of disappointment” between expectations and the realities of VR sales when headsets launched, and we’d say he was pretty on point. It’s reassuring, then, to see that the engine maker hasn’t deterred in its support for the technology since.

We’re looking forward to seeing how exactly VR’s high price points will be resolved in the years ahead. For high-end systems, you’re currently looking at around at least $1,000 to go all-in, picking up both a headset and a PC powerful enough to run it.

Riccitiello did, however, say that AR’s future is “coming fast.”

“Now, if you take this new thing, using your phone for AR — [including via] ARKit and [Google’s recently introduced challenger to ARKit] ARCore, the future is coming fast. The biggest app in history was Niantic’s Pokémon GO, powered by Unity. Tens of millions of people played Pokémon GO. That was just the start.”

His comments come as Apple announces its AR-enabled iPhone 8 and iPhone X, two devices could potentially popularize the technology massively.

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  • Firestorm185

    Good to know Unity’s in this for the long run.

    • They have no choice now since they embedded most of it within the Unity Engine. Not a big fan since at least with GVR, you have to jump through hoops to programmatically switch from stereoscopic to monoscopic without losing 3DOF.

  • Caven

    No mention of AR requiring an expensive cellphone to use? 😉

    • RFC_VR

      “Trough of disillusionment” after first wave of early adaptors? Saw a lot of hmds of all flavour in London’s many exchange stores.

      It’s coming good soon 😘

    • I think AR on phones isn’t going to be that amazing, because for the experience to be good, you need to hold the phone out in front of you, and after awhile your arms will get tired. Yeah, I know Pokémon Go, blah, blah, blah…

      I hope this phone stuff doesn’t derail the headsets, because that’s where it needs to go.