Unless you’ve been hiding under an internet-deprived rock, you’ve seen that photo of Mark Zuckerberg.
HTC has waded in on the debate surrounding a widely shared photo of technology press wearing VR headsets, oblivious to the presence of Facebook’s CEO.
Critics of virtual reality say it’s an eerie vision of a dystopian future, where Zuckerberg rules over Oculus-wielding minions.
But HTC – which manufactures the rival Vive VR headset – thinks the scene is more benign than some would have us believe.
“That was part of the fun, right? The whole thing was everybody put on their Gear VR and then when they took it off, Mark Zuckerberg was standing there in front of them,” Ryan Hoopingarner, Director of Product Marketing for HTC Vive, tells TrustedReviews. “It was a big reveal.”
The HTC Vive VR headset
According to Hoopingarner, the future of virtual reality won’t be “solitary”, and we really have nothing to worry about.
He says the perception of VR cutting people off comes from the parallel with gamers, and the stereotypes that surround playing video games.
“I don’t think it’s going to cause people to hole out in their own little world,” Hoopingarner tells us. “I think gamers are starting to dispel their bad rap that they’ve had of living in the basement playing games all day.”
“I’ve certainly played games my entire life and that doesn’t describe me,” he continues, “and I think there’s a lot more of me out there than wherever that weird stereotype came from.”
Samsung's Gear VR headset, built with Facebook-owned Oculus
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The Vive marketing boss says that HTC’s data shows encouraging information about the type of person who will buy into virtual reality.
“We find that the primary early purchaser for a VR product is usually in their late thirties, and is planning to purchase this as a household item,” he tells us during an exclusive interview in Barcelona.
“You would also think there would be an 80/20 male to female [ratio], and it’s actually quite more even than that,” reveals Hoopingarner. “So there are both men and women interested in this.”
He adds: “They are a little bit older than you might expect…it’s a big ticket item so they’re not just buying it for themselves. They’re buying it for the family to help justify that purchase, as you would with any big ticket electronics item for the household.”
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Do you think virtual reality is a scary prospect? Let us know in the comments.