That’s also not taking into consideration how ridiculous this thing looks. To be fair, no VR headset looks “cool,” but this headset is downright silly. Despite the leaked lifestyle shots, I’m almost positive I can guarantee that no one will wear the HTC Vive Flow to bed. And that when it comes to meditation, the Calm app is $70 a year, has a huge library of content, and is available directly on your phone. Most of what’s being presented here can be found elsewhere for less money, greater convenience, and significantly less teasing.
It’s not that mixed reality is doomed. On the contrary—just about every tech company out there is convinced this is the future. Facebook just dropped its “smart” glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, Apple is rumored to be working on a pair, as is Samsung, and Google and Microsoft have been out here for years carving their own niche in the mixed reality enterprise space. Somehow, Magic Leap found another $500 million in funding and is barreling ahead with another headset. Razer, Bose, and a bunch of smaller brands are also putting out their own audio sunglasses. Like it or not, virtual and augmented reality is happening. Someone someday is going to crack the winning combination of hardware, software, and use cases.
But every company in this space is facing the same problems: how to stand out from the crowd and how to convince the average person that this is better than the devices they already have. In both cases, the HTC Vive Flow’s probably the funniest-looking VR headset we’ve seen in some time. But the Vive Flow is going to need more than just a distinctive design to convince people it’s worth buying without impressive features.