Virtual and Augmented reality may be in trouble after some recent studies have shown diminished interest in the technology.
According to Crunchbase data, a total of 26 companies with AR or VR-focused businesses raised a disclosed amount of funds in the first quarter of 2017, raising over $200 million. The numbers pale in comparison to the previous year where 29 companies were able to raise just over $1 billion. This marks the lowest quarterly number of financing and investments total in over a year. A chart was made, looking at the financing totals for augmented and virtual reality startups for the past five quarters.
While nothing is certain, the slow adoption rate of VR and AR technology may be the cause of investor’s uneasiness. The number of companies involved with the technology is small, meaning any changes in the market will have an impact. Another factor that may be dampening investor expectations about the new market is the bad publicity a few of the VR developing companies have received recently. The Oculus Rift hasn’t lived up to the high expectations originally set for the device, resulting in many of the demo stations set up in stores to be closed down. High-end devices such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive failed to meet sales expectations while low-cost devices such as the PlayStation VR fared much better on the market.
One of the biggest complaints often heard about VR, is the lack of software supporting the hardware. Many of the titles used to promote hardware have either been stuck in development or were met with negative reception when released. An example of this is Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey, a first-person adventure game where players explore a world filled with dinosaurs, solving puzzles as they progress. Critics complained about the game’s controls with some even saying the VR aspect made them feel ill.
VR isn’t dead as of yet. Even with slow sales, a number of VR headsets have been deemed commercially successful. With investors hesitant to continue supporting the hardware, it’ll be the quality of the upcoming software in the future that determines the fate of VR.