Electronic Arts has one of the deepest back catalogs in the industry, but to date it has steered clear of mining it for new revenue through remastered and HD editions. That’s likely to change soon, according to a Game Informer interview with EA Studios executive VP Patrick Soderlund from last week at Gamescom. When asked if anything in EA’s stance on remasters had evolved in the last year, Soderlund tipped the publisher’s hand.
“What’s changed is that there is proof in the market that people want it, maybe more than there was when we spoke [previously],” Soderlund said. “There were some that did it before, but I think there is even more clear evidence that this is something that people really want. The honest answer is that we are absolutely actively looking at it. I can’t announce anything today, but you can expect us most likely to follow our fellow partners in Activision and other companies that have done this successfully.”
Soderlund added that if EA were to remaster games, it would “have to be careful in choosing the right brands for the right reasons at the right time.” Part of that would be ensuring the company handles the remasters properly instead of just selling quick and dirty ports.
That attitude is a pretty clear pivot from where the company’s thinking was just a year ago. Last October, Peter Moore said EA wasn’t interested in remakes and remasters because “it feels like pushing stuff out because you’ve run out of ideas,” adding, “I don’t know where we find the time to do remakes. We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”
While EA hasn’t been especially aggressive with remastered games, it has produced HD versions of older games like American McGee’s Alice and Crysis, primarily as preorder incentives for sequels in those series.
AMD has revealed a heap of details about its 32-core Zen based product – codenamed Naples – and we have a few things to add.
According to our well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Remember, we were the first to mention Naples in detail in June 2016. Sometimes AMD calls these products Alpha versions but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This could have been a pre-Alpha version that was stable enough to run.
The beta version will follow Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called the final/general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and followed by initial production.
When a tech company says a product will launch in the second quarter, expect it to happen towards the end. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in the last days of May or the first days of June 2017.
The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.
AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “
A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the possible launch date in as many details as we did.
According to a well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Sometimes AMD calls these products an Alpha version but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This might be a pre-alpha version that was stable enough to show.
The beta version is following already in Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called final / general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and it is followed by initial production.
When a company says a second quarter for a launch, you should expect it to happen towards the end of it. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in last days of May or first days of June 2017.
The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.
AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the launch date in as many details as we just have.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics won a contract to make Nvidia GPUs according to South Korea’s Chosun Biz newspaper.
The paper said Samsung would start making the next-generation Pascal GPUs using its 14-nanometre production technology before year-end. It did not specify the value of the order or say how many chips will be made. Samsung and Nvidia are not saying anything.
According to the newspaper Samsung Electronics is currently testing the Nvidia Pascal (Pascal) architecture on new production lines at the S1 campus Giheung, Gyeonggi Province. It is expected that the first GPU from Nvidia will be supplied by Samsung later this year.
Nvidia normally ships this sort of thing through Taiwan’s TSMC but has changed its mind because of recent unstable supply issues and the fact it wants to diversify its production line, the paper claimed.
TSMC is gearing up to build MediaTek’s new Helio X30 SoC using the 10nm process and it looks like everything will be set for volume production in the first quarter of 2017.
It looks like the chip will be out before TSMC uses the same process to make Apple’s new chips later in 2017. Of course when Apple releases its chip it will try to convince the world that it is the first and it invented the whole process.
TSMC will also offer its backend integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology for Apple’s 10nm A11 chips.. However this timetable it means that hte X30 will really be the ground breaking technology which tests TSMC’s 10nm and MediaTek is taking the biggest risk.
Digitimes said that Qualcomm worked with Samsung Electronics to produce its next-generation Snapdragon 830 chips using its 10nm technology and that TSMC lost the orders for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 series to Samsung.
TSMC told its July investors meeting that its 10nm process will start generating revenues in the first quarter of 2017. The node has received product tape-outs from three clients, and more tape-outs are expected to come later in 2016, the foundry said.
Pokemon Go is the only thing anyone wants to talk about. Even people who don’t want to talk about Pokemon Go end up talking about it all the time, if only to tell everyone how sick they are of people talking about Pokemon Go. Social networks are full of Pokemon Go, going out for a drink is now impossible without occasional interruptions as a buzzing phone signals the possible arrival of a rare beast, and comparisons of recent prized acquisitions have replaced complaints about the weather as smalltalk.
It’s not just your social group that’s talking about Pokemon Go, though. Damned near every conversation I’ve had within the industry in recent days has turned to Pokemon Go at some point. The games industry has produced some remarkable social phenomena in recent decades – Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo and Angry Birds all spring to mind as games that leapt across the boundaries to ignite the mainstream imagination, at least for a time – but none has been as fast, as widespread or as visible as Pokemon Go. It’s inevitable, then, that business people across the industry find themselves wondering how to help themselves to a slice of this pie.
Behind the headlines about the game itself, there’s another story building steam. Some investors and venture capitalists are hunting for the “next Pokemon Go”, or a “Pokemon Go killer”; developers are frantically preparing pitches and demos to that effect; IP holders are looking at their own franchises and trying to figure out which ones they could “do a Pokemon Go” with. I know of several investor meetings in the past week alone in which developers of quite different games were needled to push their titles towards mobile AR in an effort to replicate the success of Pokemon Go.
This is an ill-advised direction, to say the very least. From a creative standpoint, it’s hard not to roll one’s eyes, of course; this bandwagon-hopping occurs after every major hit game earns its success. For a couple of years after any truly huge game captures the industry’s imagination, it seems that the only words investors want to hear are “it’s like that hit game you think you understand, but with something extra”. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing; “it’s like Grand Theft Auto but with superpowers” was probably the pitch line for the excellent Crackdown, while “it’s like Grand Theft Auto but we drink more heavily in our design meetings” was probably not the pitch line for Saints Row, but should have been. This approach does also yield more than its fair share of anaemic clones of great games, but it has its merits, not least in being a clear way of communicating an idea to people who may not be experts in game design.
In the instance of Pokemon Go, however, there’s a really fundamental problem with the bandwagon jumping. Even as third parties fall over themselves to figure out how to hop aboard the Pokemon Go bandwagon, the fact is that we don’t even know if this bandwagon is rolling yet. Pokemon Go is a free-to-play mobile game, which means that its phenomenal launch is only the first step. In F2P, a great launch is not a sign of success, it’s a sign of potential; the hard work, and the real measure of a game’s success, is what comes next.
To put this in blunt terms, Pokemon Go has just managed to attract the largest audience of any mobile game within weeks of its launch – and it could just as readily find itself losing that audience almost in its entirety within a few weeks. If that happens, those enormous download numbers and the social phenomenon that has built up around the game will be almost meaningless. Mobile games make their money over long periods of time and rely upon engaging players for months; a mobile game that’s downloaded by millions, but is only being played by thousands within a few weeks, is not a success, it’s a catastrophic case study in squandered potential.
I’m not necessarily saying that this will happen to Pokemon Go – though there are warning signs there already, which I’ll get to in a moment – I’m saying, rather, that it could happen to Pokemon Go, and that it’s therefore vastly premature for anyone to be labelling this as a model for success or chasing after it with their own mobile AR titles. There are shades of what happened with VR, where Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus drove ludicrous amounts of capital into some very questionable VR startups and projects, inflating a valuation bubble which many investors are now feeling deeply uncomfortable about. Here, the initial buzz for Pokemon Go has sent capital seeking out similar projects long before we actually get any proper feedback on whether the model is sustainable or worthwhile.
There’s actually only one way in which Pokemon Go has been an unqualified success thus far, and that’s in its incredibly powerful validation of the Pokemon brand. Nintendo walks away from this whole affair a winner, no matter what; the extraordinary launch of the game is, as I’ve argued previously, a testament to the huge appeal of Pokemon, the golden age of nostalgia it’s going through, and the clever recognition of its perfect fit to the outdoor, AR-based gameplay of Niantic’s games. The thing is that thus far, we simply can’t tell to what extent Pokemon Go is riding the wave of that brand, and to what extent it’s actually bedding in as a sustainable game with a huge playing (and paying) audience.
I have my own suspicions that Pokemon Go is actually quite troubled on the latter count. Looked at from the standpoint of mobile and F2P game design, the game is severely lacking in the crucial area of player retention. At first, it does a great job; it trickle-feeds new Pokemon to you and filling out the first 100 or so entries in the Pokedex is a fun challenge that keeps players coming back each day. It’s then that things become more problematic. As players reach higher levels, the game applies significantly more friction (not necessarily in fun ways, with Niantic making some very dubious guesses as to the tolerance for frustration of their players) even as the actual reasons for playing start to fade away.
At high levels, finding or evolving new creatures is incredibly rare, and the only other thing for players to do is battling at Pokemon Gyms – which some players find entertaining, but which is a completely disconnected experience from the thing people have been enjoying up to that point, namely exploring and collecting new Pokemon. The idea that players who love exploring and collecting will be motivated by combat at Gyms seems naive, and misunderstands the different motivations different people have for playing games. My suspicion is that on the contrary, lots of players, perhaps a significant majority, will complete as much of their Pokedex as they reasonably can before churning out of the game – a high churn rate that will be exacerbated by the dying down of the “halo” of social media around the game, which inexplicably lacks any social features of its own.
I could be wrong – I’d be very happy to be wrong, in fact – but my sense of where Pokemon Go is headed is that, absent some dramatic updates and changes from Niantic in the coming weeks, the game is destined to be a fad. It will achieve its objective for Nintendo in some regards, establishing the value of the firm’s IP on mobile and probably igniting interest in this year’s upcoming 3DS Pokemon titles, but in the broad scheme of things it’s likely to end up being a fun summer fad that never converts into being a sustainable, long-term business.
In that case, those companies and investors chasing the Pokemon Go dollar with ideas for Pokemon Go killers or Pokemon Go-alikes are running down a blind alley. Crucially, they’re misunderstanding the game’s appeal and value; at the moment, Pokemon Go’s appeal is firmly rooted in its IP, and no other IP is ever going to replicate that in the same way. Digimon might have some appeal within a certain age group; Yokai Watch is largely unknown in the west and its players in Japan skew too young for an outdoor AR game to make much sense; I can think of no other franchise that would fit the “Pokemon Go model” well enough to make for an appealing game. If Pokemon Go turns out to be sustainable, then there’s potential for other companies to start thinking about what to do with this new audience of people who have fallen for mobile AR experiences; but until that happens, every VC dollar or man-hour of design time spent on a “Pokemon Go killer” is most likely being wasted entirely.
Nvidia will be showing off its Pascal-based discrete notebook GPUs at Gamescom in Europe, on August 17-21.
Digitimes claims that Asustek Computer, MSI, Gigabyte Technology and Clevo are expected to be showing off their latest Pascal based offerings. What is interesting is that they see Europe as the major market for gaming PC products. The number of gamers in the region has been rising rapidly, many gaming PC vendors have been expanding their reach into Europe’s channel and have been sponsoring e-sport teams in Europe.
Apparently Nvidia is unifying its product names and will no longer use the letter M to differentiate its desktop and notebook products. At Gamescom, Nvidia will unveil its GeForce GTX 1080/1070/1060-series GPUs for notebooks.
This means, it seems, that Nvidia’s desktop and notebook GPUs with the same name will have equal performance, something which is a move away from the past when Nvidia’s notebook GPUs were weaker than its desktop parts. Meanwhile gaming notebooks with existing 980M/970M/960M GPUs are expected to see price cuts.
AMD recently mentioned that it has built hardware directly with Samsung and there is a further option to tap the company in the future for product ramps.
Analyst Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Security made the announcement after AMD investors questions about where AMD was building most of its hardware became a little more pointed.
AMD has said that it has bought $75 million in wafers from GlobalFoundries in Q2, that number struck Moorhead and co as a bit on the small side.
Moorhead questioned AMD on the deal and was told:
“AMD has strong foundry partnerships and our primary manufacturing partners are GLOBALFOUNDRIES and TSMC. We have run some product at Samsung and we have the option of enabling production with Samsung if needed as part of the strategic collaboration agreement they have with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to deliver 14nm FinFET process technology capacity.”
If AMD has options to build at Samsung that could be a bad sign for GlobalFoundries. After all it only spun off the outfit because it wanted a more agile manufacturing partner. GlobalFoundries struggled with its customer base and AMD had to cancel its Krishna and Wichita parts and move to TSMC.
When GloFo canned its 20nm and 14nm XM nodes and licensed 14nm technology from Samsung only to experience delays with that too.
Getting more out of Samsung might not result in significant volumes but the option to do so will keep GloFo or TSMC clean if they run into ramping or yield problems. GloFo’s licensed version of Samsung’s 14nm could easily be done by Samsung.
AMD is drawing up a cunning plan to build a “super-chip” with a CPU and a GPU in a single box to put the fear of god into Nvidia and Intel in the data centre.
According to PC World the move will put AMD back into the server business, which is pretty much dead in the water at the moment.
Apparently when Zen arrives it wants to merge the CPU with a high-performance GPU to create a mega-chip for high-performance tasks.
AMD CEO Lisa Su said the tech will involve fusing Vega and Zen into one big chip for enterprise servers and supercomputing.
She said the move will come “in time”. “It’s an area where combining the two technologies makes a lot of sense.”
AMD has had a crack at this before. It has already combined full-featured CPUs and GPUs on made-to-order chips for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The 5-billion transistor Xbox One chip uses an eight-core AMD CPU code-named Jaguar and a Radeon graphics processor. But this is the first time that it has been talked about as a way of getting itself back into serverland.
Ironically it is possible thanks to the fact that GPUs are being used as co-processors in some of the world’s fastest computers. Google has slipped them into data centers for deep learning tasks. But this is world where Nvidia rules.
The only way for AMD to beat Nvidia and Intel in that space is to fuse the GPU and CPU into a single speedy box. Chances are it would push into the market on price and efficiency based on the concept that companies would only have to buy one chip.
Samsung’s Gear VR headset has been installed in a what is believed to be the first Virtual Reality popup cinema.
The VIVID VR Cinema has been constructed in Toronto, Canada, where a total of three different films were being shown — The Visitor, where a young couple prepares for the woman’s greatest fear to arrive; Imago, a title about a former dancer in a coma who’s aware of her surroundings; and Sonar, a movie about a drone that discovers a signal on an asteroid.
The cinema is small – only 30 seats. Each has a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a Gear VR with a Galaxy S7 clipped to the back. Tickets cost $20 for the 40-minutes to watch the three films.
The movies have been carefully crafted to let their viewers to choose different narratives to focus on so even the plot is interactive.
It is expected that more of this type of entertainment will arrive when more content is available. It might be a couple of decades before the first Hollywood blockbuster though.
As announced earlier, Nvidia has officially lifted the NDA off its Geforce GTX 1060 allowing sites to publish reviews which also means that retailers/e-tailers now have the green light to start selling the new graphics card.
Based on 16nm GP106 GPU, the new Geforce GTX 1060 is the third Nvidia Geforce graphics card based on the new Pascal GPU architecture. The GP106 GPU packs 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs and 48 ROPs and it will be coming with 6GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit memory interface.
The new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, which will be apparently sold only by Nvidia, will work at 1506MHz and 1709MHz for the GPU base and Boost clocks while memory will end up with a reference clock of 8000MHz, which adds up to 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.
The reference Founders Edition comes with a standard blower-style cooler which is somewhat simplified and lacks both heatpipes or vapor-chamber, mostly due to the fact that the GTX 1060 has a 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 needs a single 6-pin PCIe power connector which leaves it plenty of headroom for further overclocking.
Performance-wise, the Geforce GTX 1060 is on par with the GTX 980 4GB, and since it comes with 2GB more VRAM, it is a better choice. More importantly, the Geforce GTX 1060 is faster than the RX 480 in most cases, which is its direct competitor on the market.
Unfortunately, the GTX 1060 lacks SLI support, probably because it would kill the sales of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.
Priced at US $299 for the Founders Edition and coming with a MSRP of US $249, the Geforce GTX 1060 is quite impressive, offering more performance than the recently launched Radeon RX 480 and bringing that impressive Pascal power efficiency to the mainstream market.
Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the price wars in the mainstream graphics card segment and will push the prices closer to the MSRP. Both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 offer decent performance per buck so it will be a fight to the bitter end.
Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.
As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.
After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.
The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.
Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021’ and replace that with ‘2016’ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.
Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.
And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.
Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.
The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.
The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.
While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.
“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”
At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.
We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.
A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.
Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.
It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.
The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.
GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.
Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.
A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.
The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.
But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.
It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.
The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.
On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.
The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.
While beancounters have been predicting that VR will arise to become an important part of the IT industry, some of us have wondered if that was likely if the technology was too expensive and lacked a “killer app.”
But it is starting to look like the killer app will not be gaming, or office management, or anything else that the beancounters have been looking at. The real killer app, like VHS before it, will be smut.
Last week a group of VR retailers got together to produce a virtual erotica exhibition in Japan showing the porn applications available for VR. They had a few machines on hand and they expected a moderate amount of interest.
What happened was that shed loads of lonely Japanese blokes patiently queued up outside waiting to see if the tech was ready to meet their expectations. When we say loads we mean far too many. The exhibition had to pre-maturely close due to the pressing crowds.
While this made for a funny story, it actually shows who VR’s target market will be, initially. It will not be geeks or gamers it will be those who want a sexual experience either because they can’t get one, or can’t be bothered. It is these guys who are going to provide the base numbers that will make the machines profitable, rather than those who want to chainsaw zombies in 3D. For practical reasons these guys have deep pockets too.
It was the same people who provided the bedrock for internet bandwidth since the 1990s. Smut is still a mainstay of the Internet, although it is nowhere near as much as it was at the beginning. That is pretty much how this will play out over the next decade.
The porn users will be the early adopters and they will create the offer growth opportunities for component suppliers, including sensors, infrared (IR)/laser transmitters and LED chips. They will swiftly drive the cost of headsets down so that they become more accessible to other users and uses.
They will also force the development of better technology. Say what you like about porn, if it looks fake, or the experience is not particularly real then people are swiftly going to be dissatisfied.
This is going mean lighter VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices, more MEMS parts and IR/LED sensing components to detect the positions and movements of a “target.”
What we find interesting is that going through all the stories about VR and its cousin AR is that there is a marked reluctance for anyone to admit that this is what is about to happen. There are a few off-hand references to the “entertainment industry” or using the devices to “watch movies” but we can’t find anywhere that pundits are actually saying that “porn will be the killer app” – other than Fudzilla.
Practically this means that a lot of investment and marketing is heading in the wrong direction. While people are talking games, or even office applications, they are missing out on the apps and hardware which will propel VR and AR through its initial adoption hurdle.