If Facebook's Oculus division and other makers of virtual-reality gear want their products to go mainstream, they're going to need new marketing tactics.
Lowering prices on VR equipment and producing a wider variety and greater number of games, as Oculus has done this year, are good places to start, although Facebook still won't give any sales figures.
Yet if they want inexperienced video game-players to warm up to the technology, they may want to consider shipping every headset with a dose of Dramamine. And providing detailed playing instructions — and a disclaimer that the experience may be disorienting at first — wouldn't hurt, either.
That's what Oculus did for me — a true video-gaming novice — and it helped help turn my first VR into a positive one.
"We've said ubiquitous VR is a 10-year or 20-year vision," said Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Oculus and currently head of Rift, the company's headset product. "A lot of people are still skeptical," he added, during a one-on-one interview last week.
I'm one of those skeptics. I get queasy after too much texting in a moving car — never mind being immersed in a virtual world.
Last week, Oculus invited to test out two immersive, multi-player VR games as part of a product demonstration for media in San Francisco. Echo Arena was finished and released this week, and I also got to play a test version of Marvel Powers United, which will require many more months of development.
They are among the flashiest, loudest and most-expensive VR games ever made.
"We've been investing a ton in content," Mitchell told a group of reporters before the demonstrations had begun.
I had never played a virtual reality game in my life. Less than an hour later, thanks to a combination of expert guidance, persistence and two Dramamine doses, I had been transformed by one of those games from a beginner into a lethal, virtual version of Marvel's Incredible Hulk character.