"There have long been amazing demos, but either the experience itself was too limiting or using it for a long time was too uncomfortable, or both," Gottheil said. "It's hard to make it good enough and to make the experience rich enough to offset the discomfort and isolation of wearing the gear."
However, with the right equipment and software, virtual reality could become an immersive experience that goes beyond what is available today.
"What we'll see first is consumption, where users select experiences that have been created by others," said Olds. "Down the road, we'll see the ability for users to create their own experiences and record them to some virtual reality standard so that it can be played back by others ... Now that's a big deal."
Olds added that he expects widespread adoption to take five to 10 years.
"I think if this works for Facebook, it will allow them to keep growing their user base and become more interesting as the years go by," said Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst. "The question is if it will it pay off. Will it make sense? Will they be using this in the future? Or will this just be one of those ideas that they try but it doesn't work and they throw it away after a while?"
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