It feels like the winter of Virtual Reality’s discontent in these early days of 2017. Last year’s sales projections have been slashed, Best Buy has banished Oculus from many of its stores, and the heady excitement of 2016 is all but gone.
And many of the more promising — or hyped — startups from the last few years — including Vrideo, EnvelopVR and River Studios — have been unable to raise more money, and have been forced to sell at discount prices or are bobbling along in a zombie state. Even the industry’s biggest fan, Robert Scoble, now seems more likely to tout the future of augmented — or mixed — reality instead of true VR.
Is it over. Again?
Nope, in fact it’s just beginning to get real. VR is following the same path as many technologies, and in fact is paralleling the growth of online video pretty closely.
I lived those incredibly heady days back in 2006 and 2007 when online video was hyped to the gills. Companies like National Banana, Veoh, Revver and Joost were being funded at crazy valuations and with outsized expectations. My own company, Revision3, snagged 8 million dollars in 2007 and we didn’t look back.