Google’s Clay Bavor: ‘Zero percent of the world’ knows about VR

VR has long-been touted as the big tech story of 2016, with all the major headsets launching this year.

But outside of the tech world, how many people are actually paying attention?

Google’s Vice President of VR, Clay Bavor, has offered his opinion on that very question, and he’s convinced the technology has a long way to go before it enters the mainstream.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Bavor said: “The people who have used or even know about VR at this point is a rounding error. It’s approximately zero percent of the world.”

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daydreamGoogle’s upcoming Daydream VR

The former lead of Google’s Cardboard team, who is also responsible for some of the company’s biggest software, including Gmail and Google Docs, was speaking at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France.

He also revealed he has to remind his team that virtual reality is still essentially unknown outside of the tech and media industry.

“We predict that as much energy and talk and hype there is around VR right now, it’s going to be a slower ramp than people appreciate,” he added.

Google appointed Bavor as VP of its VR division in January, sparking speculation that the company was working on a VR headset to rival others such as Samsung’s Gear VR.

Related: Oculus Rift review

At the firm’s big developer conference, I/O 2016, however, Bavor revealed that Google’s VR ambitions went beyond just a headset, unveiling an entire VR platform called Daydream.

The new virtual ecosystem works with the upcoming Android N and includes headset specifications for third-party manufacturers to work to, alongside a virtual platform to rival the Oculus Store.

Google has since stated it will be working on a Daydream headset of its own, but just when we’ll see one arrive is as uncertain as when VR is likely to enter the mainstream.

Still, Bavor sees a clear path towards making that happen, telling WSJ that pairing VR with smartphones is the key.

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What do you think of Clay Bavor’s predictions? Let us know in the comments.