The more revolutionary a technology, the more ridiculous it seems at the start. Looking at the history of technology adoption, there is usually a period of a few years from a new technology's introduction before it really takes off. Over time, we have become more enamored with technology, adopting each new invention faster than the last , and while virtual reality (VR) will likely continue this pattern and reach 25% of the American population within five years, VR presents an adoption issue that many other technologies did not have to face - it looks geeky. However, VR will be able to shed its geeky image and become cool in the next three years. Here's how:
2015 - The first round of consumer VR devices will hit the market in force. Led by the highly-anticipated Oculus and Sony Morpheus and a slew of smartphone holders, VR will reach two to four million people. These innovators and early adopters will enjoy VR from the privacy of their homes and won't have to worry about looking geeky (which happens only in public). In fact, their friends will want to try VR too, which will help fuel the next round of headset purchases.
2016 - Further advances in technology will help shrink the size, decrease the cost, and increase the performance of VR headsets. Everyone who bought a gen one headset will buy the second generation, and many new buyers will be drawn in by the better technology. VR will reach at least ten million people. By this point, VR will have lost much of its geeky factor.
2017 - VR headsets will just keep getting better, cheaper, and cooler looking, and the availability and quality of VR content will also be vastly improved. Between 20 and 25 million people will now be proud owners of a VR headset, and the geeky factor will have completely gone. VR will be primed for mass adoption and will easily reach 70 to 80 million people in the following years.
With all of the excitement surrounding VR today, it is easy to get caught up in the hype. VR still has a few trying years ahead of it to get the technology, content, and social proof necessary for mass adoption, but with long-term bets from big players like Facebook, you can be sure that VR will get there.