From Financial Times’ Jonathan Margolis: Rather than read about virtual reality, you need to try it. The mesmerising sensation of VR is impossible to convey in words. I expect the telephone, radio and television also needed seeing and hearing in their early days.
VR is more difficult to explain than almost any other new consumer technology. When I first tried a Sony Walkman in 1979, I was convinced and bought it within a minute. But with VR, you need time.
This could be a stumbling block for retailers. One fashion company director last month wanted to experience VR as a consumer and to explore how he might use the technology in retail. He was given an appointment for a demonstration six weeks ahead at a London department store, such was the demand for 30-minute slots.
“It’s not a small purchase to make on the strength of you saying it’s amazing, when I don’t even know if it’ll give me headaches,” he explained. It was a good point: a decent VR headset costs about £700, with hardware costs of another £1,000.
I was discussing this problem with an assistant in a cake shop. Athena Loizou has an Edinburgh university MA in Chinese and economics, and (I love millennials) knows a lot about VR.
Many VR headset manufacturers have also been notably reticent in promoting their products. I have nagged Oculus Rift and Sony for samples to try for my How To Spend It column without success.
“So, have you,” said Ms Loizou, while brilliantly upselling me some tarts to go with the quiches and brioches, “come across the new way people are being introduced to VR?”