Virtual reality is an exciting new technology that isn’t actually new at all. For decades, various technology companies have attempted to make VR a consumer friendly experience, and for decades, those same companies have failed. The graphical and computational horsepower needed to make virtual reality a convincing experience has never been as affordable, and as available, as it is now. The financial and technical limitations that held VR back in the past no longer exist, and multiple tech heavyweights have thrown their headsets into the ring in a battle for VR supremacy. Samsung, HTC (along with Valve), and Oculus all have headsets currently on the market, with Sony’s Playstation 4 VR headset coming in the fall, and now Intel has decided to join the fray with its Project Alloy headset.
Intel has been the leader in microprocessors for years, fighting off vicious competition from AMD to stay at the top of the industry. Now they have a brand new fight on their hands, against competitors who already have more gaming expertise, such as HTC and Valve, or a large head start like the one Oculus has. Intel is hoping that the main thing that sets Project Alloy apart from its competition, the fact that it’s completely wireless, will grab the attention of media members, as well as consumers, who may already be suffering from VR fatigue. Intel is also banking on their relationship with Windows to help them on the software side, with Microsoft’s Holographic operating system platform being featured on Project Alloy. There are still plenty of questions that remain unanswered regarding Project Alloy, as Intel didn’t give very many details regarding the hardware specifications or pricing and availability.
The virtual reality market is quickly becoming overcrowded, with no less than four different headsets all fighting over the same general market. Intel obviously has the marketing and research budget to decide whether or not entering this space is a smart business decision, but you have to wonder if consumers feel the same way about the Intel brand as they do about Samsung, HTC or Oculus. Intel has a sterling reputation among PC hardware enthusiasts, but do mass market consumers have the same loyalty? That remains to be seen.