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Almost all consumers in Germany are aware of virtual reality (VR) technology, but relatively few are using it, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of more than 1,000 adults in June 2016.
Nearly 85% of those polled had heard of VR, but not used it. Among respondents who had personal experience of VR, 5.5% had used it only while playing video games. Some 5.7% had used it in some other context, but fewer than 5% had tried VR in a variety of circumstances.
Most (71.1%) of adult VR users said they used the technology at least occasionally, and 14.9% used it once a week or more. Just 4.2% of users had a VR experience daily.
Most adults polled weren't in a hurry to have a VR headset, either. One in 50 (2.1%) said they already owned one, 0.9% had ordered a headset, and 18.9% said they were definitely interested in getting one. But almost half (46.1%) were still undecided, and nearly one-third said no.
Respondents were also asked about the main risks—if any—of using VR. More than a quarter (25.8%) cited growing disengagement with reality and the mingling of the actual and virtual worlds as the greatest danger. Women were more likely than men to see loss of connection with the real world as the most serious threat. Almost as many respondents (24.9%) mentioned physical consequences such as dizziness and the fear that normal movement could be impaired. Concern about VR's potential effect on children ranked third in the list of perceived risks.
On the plus side, more than three-quarters of those polled said the biggest advantage of VR for video games was the feeling of being in the middle of the action. Almost half mentioned the real-time aspect of playing games with a VR headset—and the ability to play without using a mouse, games console or touchscreen was a big change for the better. Nearly 38% of VR users also thought VR technology had brought higher-quality games into the market.
If anything, VR seems to offer even more benefits through applications in commerce and industry—such as better presentation of products in online stores, more reliable product testing, improved training procedures, cost reduction and higher productivity. The potential in medicine is enormous too, not least through effective diagnosis and treatment of individuals by medical professionals acting remotely. But VR innovations in retail and other consumer sectors are expected to emerge more quickly.
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