VR Is Too Expensive and Takes Up Too Much Room, Take-Two CEO Says

"I don't know what people could be thinking."

143 Comments

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has in the past voiced concerns about virtual reality, and now he's spoken up again to talk about the "impediments" in front of it.

Speaking today at the Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Zelnick started by saying VR is simply too costly. He also said it's ridiculous to think the average home in America would dedicate an entire room to VR gaming.

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"It's way too expensive right now," he said to an audience of analysts and investors. "There is no market for a $2000 entertainment device that requires you to dedicate a room to the activity. I don't know what people could be thinking. Maybe some of the people in this room have a room to dedicate to an entertainment activity, but back here in the real world? That's not what we have in America."

"We have like $300 to spend on an entertainment device and we do not have a dedicated room. We have a room for a screen, a couch, and controllers," he added. "We don't have something where you stand in a big open space and hold two controllers with something on your head--and not crash into the coffee table. We don't have that."

Zelnick went on to say there are "any number of constraints" to virtual reality taking off. This isn't to say he's completely down on VR in general, however.

"I'm not unexcitied; I'm just saying it remains to be seen," he said. "There are impediments."

Back in 2014, Zelnick said VR devices like Oculus Rift are "anti-social." He said VR might appeal to core gamers, but may miss the much larger casual crowd.

"I think for a core gamer, it could be a wonderful experience; someone who really likes to be immersed," Zelnick said at the time. "But a lot of people who play video games, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them, so that technology is not going to appeal to them. So I think it's very much a core technology."

2016 is poised to be a big year for VR. The Rift and Vive headsets came out earlier this year, while Sony's PlayStation VR debuts in October. There are also rumors of a VR-ready Xbox One to possibly come in 2017.

What do you make of Zelnick's comments? Let us know in the comments below. Take-Two is the parent company of 2K and Rockstar Games.

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p1p3dream

Every single console maker and computer hardware manufacturer is working on a VR system. Hello and Good Morning, Virtual Reality is already happening. VR is here, and people love it. There are thousands of reviews all over the web, and you know what, the reviews are pretty good. It's the first generation, and it's far from perfect- but that's because it's the first generation! The evolution of VR is going to be similar to the speed and evolution of the cell phone. If VR is already here, already happening, already evolving and cementing itself into the technology world, if it was going to fail, it would have already done so.

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shtiken

Well, it isn't $2000, and you don't need to dedicate a room to it. Much like any other new tech, it will be a bit expensive and impractical in the beginning and will quickly improve, become cheaper and more practical. This guy takes exaggeration to a new level. For a first gen product, current VR is actually a pretty good deal.

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painfield_basic

I'd love VR to take off also, but I think his points are good, except for the antisocial part.
I've watched Node Studios videos with all of them playing together and looks like a lot of fun, better than just looking at the screen while only one guy plays (I'm an old player and while I get it I don't like it). I think it's funny they talk about the offline social component while offline multiplayer is dying except for fighting games, even racing games are dropping it (I understand it makes sense financially nowadays, tho), but I don't see any difference in the online social component.
Personally I don't game online, some single player pc games not that often and almost weekly a friend brings his PS and we play offline multiplayer. I see the VR headsets that need room to move as something to buy between a bunch of friends to play occasionally wherever there's room to set it up, and cheaper static headsets for everyone, especially first-person games and driving/flying enthusiasts, probably mainly pc but let's hope Sony headset'll work and sell well and sets precedent.

Avatar image for deactivated-57d164ef1c809

I'm torn about his anti-social comments as it relates to friends & watching others.

I honestly don't get watching friends playing games being important this day & age; my personal bias is that's weird for something you can do a variety of ways without you going so out of your way (& take time out of your day) to go to someone's house to do just that… that's what Twitch & Youtube is for seemingly to me, to do that on-demand.

Similarly, online matchmaking makes it pointless to me to do similar things just to game with a friend. Since the average gamer are people from an era when consoles had less competition (gamers that are now in their 30s & etc), they don't really do that and they also game with people in general on demand online.

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SprSynJn

This man gets it.

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StokeMeAClipper

I'm personally hoping VR does take off, but there are points he makes that I agree with. For example, I don't see a future for room scale VR. The vast majority of people don't have the space to have it set up permanently and people won't be motivated to clear space everytime they want to play.

Besides that, room scale VR is extremely limited in its scope, because it means that the gaming environment (or at least that which you can interact with) must be room sized too. Aside from a mechanic like Budget Cuts where you use portals to move around, there aren't too many ways to navigate around the game world in a convincing manner. With a seated experience where you already suspend your disbelief with regards to movement, I think there is more potential. Ideally, your chair's orientation should match that of your characters body, so perhaps some kind of swivel chair would accomplish this.

The big problem I see at the moment is the lack of a killer app. Personally, as someone that loves racing games/sims, I already have motivation to get into VR, but there needs to be something to draw the core crowd. He said that VR might appeal to core gamers, but at the moment, the software available seems more aimed towards casual gamers (pretty much the opposite of what he said). Stuff like Job Simulator is a perfect example of this. It uses VR well, but if it weren't for the fact that it's in VR, not many gamers would rush out to buy it. Someone needs to make a game that is a great game in its own right. The potential is there, but if people make nothing more than gimmicky games, the whole thing will be seen as as gimmick (as some people see it now).

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lostn

He is right. For the majority of us, VR will be limited to seated experiences (driving, cockpit sims) and not room scale experiences. You just don't have enough space unless you get an omni treadmill which is very expensive (more expensive than the headset itself). The cost of entry is too high.

High end PC, headset, large enough room, the technical skills to mount your sensors, an omni treadmill? That's thousands of dollars. Some day costs might fall low enough to be affordable (except the large room with no obstacles), but that hinges on enough early adopters buying them at expensive prices for VR to continue being viable. If not enough people buy it at expensive prices, the VR industry might call it a day before everyone else is able to buy one at an affordable price.

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itchyflop

hey you gotta start somewhere.

Everything shrinks with development, you either wanna be part of the tech revolution or you dont, look at computing as a whole and how thats progressed. You could say the same with regard to chip sizes and power, transistors and size?

I value this guys opinion but its a pessimistic one.

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ArkhamCreed78

@itchyflop: Unfortunately "room scale" VR isn't going to shrink with development. When your technology is dependent on "the player needs physical space to move around in" the only way to shrink that space is to shrink the player. And with human size trending toward larger that isn't going to happen any time soon. So even if the tech itself shrinks down to the size of a micro SD card it won't matter; YOU are the same size, and YOU still need an ENTIRE dedicated room to move around in.

Of course that isn't to say there aren't workarounds. For example I've been following the development of something called "the virtualizer" for a while, and it holds a great deal of promise for free movement VR that doesn't require an entire room to set up in, but for some reason it just doesn't seem to be getting as much of a following or hype as the Rift of Vibe.

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itchyflop

@arkhamcreed78: ha yeah i didn't consider that at all did i!!! :)

ah yes i had a go on the visualizer at a gaming expo in London, from discussion with the tech guys there, it looked like it is going to be really expensive if it develops. great concept however

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Daelusca

Gotta love the hate this guy's getting....he's simply stating facts, with a few of his opinions sprinkled in. Money is the largest issue, PS4 is the leading console this gen precisely because it was much cheaper than the X that required one to purchase a a peripheral at launch....that same group of "gamers" are not going to plunk down 5x that amount for a tech that has fewer games than the Kinect did (which is a pitiful thought)....either because there are no games for that investment or, more likely, they simply don't have the means.

No one can say what fad will catch on in this world (Game of Thrones!!), but I would not bet on VR going far anytime soon.

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@Daelusca: Ironically, I think console VR has the highest hill to climb. I'm of the opinion peripherals such as the Playstation Eye, Kinect, & recent Nintendo Wii-U controller has left a bad taste in the mouth of console gamers to ever trust peripherals that enable new gaming possibilities from any console companies—let alone one that costs more than the console itself.

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p1p3dream

@lozandier: I think VR will be one of the best selling peripherals that has ever been released for a console. I think that a VR headset is fundamentally different from something like a add on controller or camera or whatever random peripherals.

First off, consider that somewhere around 25 million Kinects have been sold. That's actually a pretty significant amount for an add-on peripheral. A VR headset is not some weird obscure peripheral, like say, the Move controller. You could go along the street and ask people if they iknow what the Move is and you will probably get some people who don't know what you're talking about. However, i would say that if you went up the street and asked people randomly if they knew what VR is- you'll find that most people know what a VR headset is at this point. It's a significant technology that's been in the mainstream consciousness for a while, and it's also a technology that people actually want. Who DOESN'T want the Holodeck??

VR is a significant and important evolution of the interface system. The mainstream appeal of Playstation and the marketing push that Sony will put behind VR, along with the first party games that Sony is creating for VR is going to make the PS VR one of the highest selling pieces of add on hardware that we've yet seen for a console.

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Spartan_418

It's weird to dismiss VR as a whole on the basis that people don't have room for it, as if Vive is the only VR device available and sit-down, m/k or controller-based VR games don't exist.

There are already quite a few mods that make GTA V a decent sit-down VR game.

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p1p3dream

Wow, what a whiney dude. And quite a few people have bought VR, check into some of those sales numbers G.

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ArkhamCreed78

@p1p3dream: Those sales numbers or virtually (pun) microscopic relative to the overall gaming market. I'm guessing you're one of the people who bought one, and now get defensive when people say it is doomed to fail. Well sorry; it is. Sit-down VR will survive for a bit as niche market but that new room-scale thing is dead in the water. The vast, vast majority of people just don't have the space for it, no matter how many people brag about having bought it on the Steam forums.

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p1p3dream

@arkhamcreed78:Well, full disclosure, I bought both systems- but I'm a gear whore. I am not a fan boy for things like most gamers, i just solve that problem by buying all the systems. I do have shares in Facebook, thus I suppose you could say I support Oculus in a way Anyway, the fact remains that VR systems are flying off there virtual shelves, and Oculus and Valve can barely keep up with the demand. VR is projected to sell a half million HMD's in the first year- and the tech will keep getting better and cheaper. I'm just stating facts here, i apologize if you perceive me as being defensive or something. I'm totally fine with the purchases i made. If anything i would say that the man in the above article is coming off with an almost defensive / petulant attitude about VR.

People are making such a racket about the VIVE and the room you need to make... It's like... really not that hard unless you're like a sloppy joe or something. Move your coffee table, and push your couch back- presto now you have room in front of the tv. When you're done, just push the darn thing back.

I would also say that a lot of the people in the VR demographic have dedicated gaming rooms / studios, so its just really not as crazy of an issue as people make it.

Saying VR is "doomed to fail" is, in my opinion, short sighted. VR and AR is the logical next step for interface systems. I would say it's ignorant to think that the progress of technology and interfaces are going to just suddenly stop evolving.... because that's just not the way that progress and time works. These are just facts.

Do you consider a half a million units microscopic? And this isn't even counting the PS VR. The PS VR is going to be a very positive force in VR, PS VR is currently projected to have a 10% adoption rate. That is 4,000,000 head sets. Still Niche... but Microsopic? Hardly.

Cheers.

Avatar image for deactivated-57d164ef1c809

@arkhamcreed78: No offense, but the world doesn't revolve around your comments or opinions stated as though it's fact.

The VR market is definitely a niche market; that doesn't mean that it can't be strategically gamed for expected profit in the meantime that can only ultimately grow as risks are taken w/ content that can lead to any mass exposure.

It's essentially, like any new market a wait-and-see that hasn't severely gone a way to see it as failing yet. So I suggest to simply be real that you're skeptical & don't think you personally can identify with it (but state why).

At least have numbers to back up such bold claims with absolute language.

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RandyBumGardner

Rockstar always wait for others to do the testing and hardware marketing and than they step in and destroy everyone.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

Was he the same guy who said HDTV's were too expensive for the average owner and that people won't have room in their tv credenza's for these new larger TV's?

Of course it will "start" expensive, but will become more affordable over time. Right now most companies are selling to the hype and trying to recoup R&D costs.

AMD has already just announced a $200 GPU that is VR capable with Nvidia poised to showcase their mainstream card soon that will also be VR capable. That alone has already shaved a few hundred of the possible startup cost of VR.

Avatar image for deactivated-57d164ef1c809

@lion2447: The 1070 *is* Nvidia's mainstream card, along with 1080 being the tier above for those with mainstream appeal for efficient single GPU performance.

Nvidia's flagship Pascal GPUs start with their launch of GP100 Pascal cards (known as Big Pascal) that absolutely destroys the 1070 and 1080 in capabilities.

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lion2447

@lion2447: As an add-on to my first comment, this is someone who works for a company that sells Shark cards to buy digital good in a "virtual" city. I don't think he is allowed to complain about something being too "expensive". At least a person's money is going toward a physical product with the VR equipment.

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KazeNoNatsu

So much misinformation out there... VR doesn't take up anymore room than what is currently used for gaming.

Its also really not that expensive; I'm currently in school and can afford it on a budget of like 1k a month (a good chunk goes to rent even). Most people just don't know how to budget.

As far as content goes, you can make pretty much any game on PC work in VR (and even console games if you use remote play).

Not social? Just look up apps like big screen.

This guy is just a dumbass that doesn't know what he's talking about. Goes right up there with that idiot CEO from EA I think that said that something like we won't be able to have good stories in games until we have photorealistic graphics... or that consoles would kill PC (gaming PCs are actually selling quite well tyvm), or that mobile would kill console.

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BrightSunbeam

It's part of a growing trend that companies are investing in the plutonomy rather than market for the precariat. VR is a technology that is intended for a small market of wealthy people by design it's a safer investment because purchasing power of the "average consumer" continues to decline in a trend that is likely to greatly accelerate in the near future.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

@brightsunbeam: That's a lot of big words.

Due to the cost of AAA games, publishers still have to aim at the "average consumer" if they want to see profit on their games. I think in the short term, we're more likely to see a lot of indie titles pop up for VR while bigger studios wait for the install base to grow.

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BrightSunbeam

@bbq_R0ADK1LL:

Many of the working class people who make up the majoirty of customers can not afford a $60 game except maybe once in a while that is why AAA games are released every few months now instead of every few weeks like it was 10 years ago and are being replaced with cheaper indie games and also why you see so many big sales now it's not due to cost of making the games so much the demand just keeps shrinking.

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anevilwithin

I think he's pretty much right. I'm a big fan of PlayStation, but I doubt PSVR will take off. It will likely become the successor for the PS Vita. Completely neglected.

I might just get the PSVR for porn, lmao but I think HoloLens will look much better for that.

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BrianMX34

@anevilwithin: PSVR is a bit better off than Oculus and Vive. 40 million people already have a PS4 and you don't need an entire room since you just sit with a controller, nor do you need a fairly powerful gaming PC. The biggest hurdle for PSVR, and all VR devices, is will there be any games worth buying VR for? They need killer apps, not just cool little games to play when people are over.

Avatar image for deactivated-57d164ef1c809

@BrianMX34: Uh, you do know there's a lot more than 40 million people with "gaming PCs", right?

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shtiken

@lozandier: No, not ones that meet the recommended specs there isn't.

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Myron117

@BrianMX34: why are people so misinformed when it comes to VR? You do not need to dedicate an entire room to VR. The vive and oculus do seated experiences except the vive gives you the option where the other two currently do not.

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anevilwithin

@BrianMX34: That's true. I believe you're able to play all PS4 games through PSVR if I'm not mistaken, right? So, that's some incentive. However, in Canada, which is where I'm from, the VR is at $699 because of the Canadian dollar. Might hurt potential buyers up north.

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BrianMX34

@anevilwithin: yeah good point. Honestly I feel like they don't need to make groundbreaking sales. They just need to sell well enough to justify the companies to iterate and refine the design to make them more affordable to the general public. Now it just depends if there are enough early adopters planning to buy VR. We'll see soon enough.

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

on another note the a.r from Microsoft lets you play minecraft on a table - could do that with lego :D

iv seen videos with peeps with vr nearly walking and jabbing into walls -

has anyone else watched the ps vr video - on the couch it looks like his gonna headbutt the others sat next to him

in some ways though they are out - they have been realised to the masses - yet no sales report like the ps4 articles- no vr game reviews either all that hype and build up and till now forgot about it .......

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azillionreasons

I'm a beta-tester so I got my hands on a 360 degree treadmill ahead of the public. Now coffee tables, walls, and cables are no problem for me, and I don't need a dedicated room for it. Sim-sickness is not an issue, and I don't have to teleport; instead I can free roam as much as I want. It is amazing how many of VR's issues this one thing solved. Are there still challenges? Yes, VR is going to be too pricey for some people for a while, and it's always going to take a little longer to get in and out of it (to answer the door/telephone etc), but with most of the problems solved, the net return is now worth it IMO. You cannot get this level of digital immersion outside of VR.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

@azillionreasons: What's the footprint of that treadmill though? Cost aside, you're still going to have to dedicate a room or push the coffee table aside.

We could see the rise of arcades again rather than every home having a dedicated space for immersive VR gaming.

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lion2447

@bbq_R0ADK1LL: I wouldn't mind seeing a return of arcades. I miss the fun atmosphere of going to one with a bunch of buddies.

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azillionreasons

@bbq_R0ADK1LL: I didn't have to re-organize anything in my room, but yes you may have to move something depending on where you would put it - not as drastic as what people are doing for 'room scale' though. Here's a video showing how much space it takes up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0x681yMKwU

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

I've said it since the start. It will be a niche peripheral for niche genres.

Just the fact I don't want to wear a pair of ski goggles to play games turns me off of VR. Even if I shoved the coffee table out of the way I still wouldn't have room for proper VR. That's even before we get to the fact I'd have to spend about two months pay just to get up and running.

Wait for PSVR and get a compromised version that will likely be abandoned by Sony in 2018 anyway.

Think I'd rather save the money and spend it on games.

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bfa1509

No truer words were spoken. I project that in 10 years VR will be used for nothing more than pornography purposes.

Avatar image for azillionreasons
azillionreasons

@bfa1509: "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." – Western Union internal memo, 1876

"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878

"Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure." – Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison's light bulb, 1880

"The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad." – The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?" – Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter's call for investment in the radio in 1921

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." – Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

"The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.” — IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), in a talk given to a 1977 World Future Society meeting in Boston

"I project that in 10 years VR will be used for nothing more than pornography purposes" - bfa1509, to the members of Gamespot in an article comment, 2016

:D

Avatar image for bfa1509
bfa1509

@azillionreasons:Hahahaha!! This is the best comment I have ever read. I appreciate the effort put in.

Gr9 M9 i r9 9/9

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azillionreasons

@bfa1509: I appreciate your appreciation! LL&P

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Myron117

@azillionreasons: thankyou for that. I will copy and paste this whenever I hear that fad bullshit come up over and over.

These people are so short sited for the implications for vr I weep for our species if they have children.

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azillionreasons

@Myron117: Copy and paste away! With anything new, most people don't understand it completely, so their opinions are not fully formed. It's frustrating for those of us who are ahead of the curve, but the process of critical analysis (finding flaws) that people are going through now is an important facet of human intelligence. It's not something that should necessarily be skipped. What's happening is that, when they see a flaw their reaction is to reject the notion (throw the baby out with the bath water). What they're not yet grasping is that the presence of a flaw does not predict failure. There are many things that are heavily flawed, yet they are phenomenally successful. Cars are flawed (expensive and very dangerous way to travel), homes are flawed (expensive, pipes burst, restricts fresh air and sunshine), books are flawed (no moving pictures!), dishwashers are flawed (takes up all that space and requires electricity!?) - but people adopt these things because they get something from it that justifies the investment. It is natural for people to examine the flaws before they fully consider the benefits and then weigh the two; it's a survival instinct. Once they get past that phase and fully examine the benefits, you'll see opinions change.

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lion2447

@azillionreasons: Wow, someone knows their history. :D

This has to be the most researched comment I have ever seen. Kudos.

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azillionreasons

@lion2447: Can't take credit I'm afraid (but thanks anyway) - I cribbed these from list25. A few other gems that aren't as applicable, but still funny:

"Reagan doesn't have that presidential look." – United Artists executive after rejecting Reagan as lead in the 1964 film The Best Man

"Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia." – Dr. Dionysius Lardner, 1830

"X-rays will prove to be a hoax." – Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883

“The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.” — Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916

"How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.” — Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat, 1800s

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936

The moral of the story - don't be put off by doubters; it is amazing how wrong we can be when we don't think something through, or do enough research.

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Flyin3lvl

@bfa1509: I thought it was now ....