It looks like many of you enjoyed our concise analysis of 3DHead. While we had a bit of fun with the company’s massive gaming helmet (making sure here that we don’t confuse it with an actual VR headset), we didn’t arrive at our conclusion lazily. We tested the unit and spoke directly with the company’s COO to try to get a sense of whether or not the folks involved were delusional about their “Oculus Killer” claim or just being dishonest. It seems to be the latter.
For those who are a bit lost, a quick recap: ‘3DHead’ came to CES 2015 with an aggressive marketing strategy attempting to position the headset as an “Oculus Killer.” That might have been fine for a serious competitor, but 3DHead’s laughably bulky headset meets approximately nobody’s expectation of VR (except for 3DHead, that is). So attempting to not only market the product as virtual reality, but as being better than arguably the current best consumer VR the world has seen, is not something anyone should put up with. The only people we could see 3DHead selling their product to are those that don’t know any better. To sum it up: 3DHead asked for it.
In the last year or so, the phrase “poison in the well” has been used to mean that bad virtual reality could harm good virtual reality by failing to meet the public’s expectation. Fortunately, 3DHead is so far out there that it isn’t even in the well to begin with.
Regarding our prior 3DHead article. As many of you picked up, it was a statement of more than its three words.
First, a company making outright dishonest claims for the sake of attention is not worth your time or ours (which is the reason why you won’t find any links to 3DHead in this article). Part of writing the prior article as we did was because we had plenty of actual stories about actual companies making actual products and are actually trying to be honest about their wares. We were able to push out more of these legitimate stories by not wasting our then-limited time on 3DHead.
Second, we are honored with the trust and rapport that we’ve built with our readership and the community, and believed that our words could be trusted on their own in this case. (P.S. we enjoyed the conversation that sprung up in the comments.)
That being said, there’s no way we’d say “It’s beyond bad” about anything without trying it and doing a proper analysis. And that’s why we stopped by the company’s booth for a hands-on and interview with COO James Jacobs.
Jacobs told me that “Oculus Killer” wasn’t his idea and shifted blame to the “marketing guys.” He told me the marketing message wasn’t under his control and that he didn’t agree with it. If so, I feel bad that he had to face the brunt of community outrage, and that he is stuck working with a company that does things that he doesn’t agree with. In the end though, I’m not sure if he wasn’t just trying to save face.
After the interview, Jacobs asked if I’d be “mean like the others.” I told him I would be fair.