Virtual Reality was, of course, a failure.
Gibson’s dream, Lanier’s digital environments – all of these were too expensive and impractical for conventional users. Filtered through the sieve of practicality, the killer apps of first generation VR were recreational and conceptual, not practical. In the mid 90s, games and high tech chatservers introduced the concept of the Avatar: a user’s representation in the Web. Dreams of cyberspace inspired the architecture of the World Wide Web.
Still, there wasn’t any point in developing true VR for what was largely amusement. Real programming wasn’t a video game and the hardware was unwieldy and expensive. By 2005 the world had settled for the banal pleasures of “surfing the Web.”
Then it all changed.