In 2019, will VR still have a place in travel technology?

Remember technology news from 2015? Every other piece of news seemed to have some kind of link to VR, 3D, 360 video and head mounted displays. Facebook had just completed its $2 Billion purchase of Oculus, and we were all told to prepare for a future full of virtual reality content. 2016 and 2017 weren’t much different – the price of 360 cameras came down, and every Galaxy S7 came with a free Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus.

Then 2018 happened, and looking back at the year, we seem to have lost interest in the technology. There hasn’t been a single major smartphone with a 360 degree camera, and VR goggles for your phone have mostly ended up in the $5 bargain bin. Question is, was it all hype, or have we simply lost interest in the technology?

If you ask a travel gear geek (like myself), I’d say that the promise of a VR enabled future was overhyped. I’m perfectly happy to enjoy my travel content in a nice flat format and I’m pretty sure I’ve never once said to myself that I’d really like to select my airplane seat using my Oculus Rift head mounted goggles. 360 degree cameras haven’t become that much better either – I’ve got a drawer full of them, and the few that were released in 2018 produce photos and videos that look about the same as the ones I was able to shoot in 2016. Give me a nice bright quality photo over a grainy dark 360 version any day of the week. The hype is over, and the future of travel content will once again come from nice “flat” photos and videos.

This doesn’t mean there is no place in tech for 360 content; gaming is probably the one place where things will keep getting better and better when worn on your head, but I feel comfortable predicting that your next flight won’t be one where everyone gets on board and starts wearing a head mounted VR display.

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