Tech

Market reality of Microsoft’s VR

As a market, we seem to have trouble learning that three key elements are necessary for a new technology to take hold: It has to appear complete, it has to be compelling, and it has to seem like a value (be affordable). Compared to what we have today, the car that opened up the automotive market in the U.S. was none of those things — yet it was incredibly successful.

So, this is about perception, which is why the iPod — which also was none of those things initially, if compared to the iPhone or iPad of today — also was incredibly successful. The difference comes down to expectations and marketing, and like quadrophonic sound, 3D and video disks, VR doesn’t yet have the right stuff.

I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: something that can make your older car smarter and maybe help keep your driving kid out of trouble.

Wrapping Up: Microsoft

Microsoft is about to launch an effort to become the market maker for VR with the coming release of a massive number of affordable headsets — and, I expect, a decent amount of new (and we’ll hope compelling) new content.

Perhaps Microsoft will do a better job with the controller problem than we have seen so far, but if they don’t, the market for VR is likely to remain tepid until someone with the resources and capabilities of Steve Jobs’ Apple steps in and checks all the boxes.

Sadly, the tech segment often is defined by companies that view a list of requirements as multiple choice rather than all of the above. If that is the case with VR, then it will go the way of 3D — but it still has the potential to become transformative. We’ll see.

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