VR (Virtual Reality) is becoming an ever-increasing technology that has surpassed the possibility of just video gaming. As a first time viewer of VR, I experienced it recently at a pop-up art exhibition, Wonderspaces. This should be a telling sign of VR's future. The use of VR at both museums and galleries, such as Whitney Museum of American Art and Hauser & Wirth, is becoming more readily seen. In response to these popular projects, the idea of accurate compensation for this technology has become a growing question within the art market.
With a lack of precedent, dealers are struggling to adapt the standards of art sales to VR. Usually an artist's work is determined by their provenance, namely to whom and how frequently they have sold their work. However, VR is so new that provenance cannot exactly take effect, and even the artist's previous work does not necessarily help define the price. Even if the artist is famous for, let's say, their sculpture, that remains to be an object that can be purchased versus a digital experience that could be easily copied. Setting the standards based on the artist is also challenging, because, very similar to conceptual art, the artist may have hired professionals to create the work rather than do it themselves.
Other elements of the actual technology pose a problem when defining the price. VR experiences have been sold as "limited editions", much like a fine art print, with only five to ten editions for the experience. This purchase also includes a VR headset, unlimited service assistance, and constant updates to the technology. These amenities are included for the specific reason that VR is a fast growing technology and people are unsure of its capabilities, even predicting that the everyday person might have one on hand in five years time. This presents another problem for the value; piracy. The potential copies and fakes would be much easier to produce and sell than a painting or sculpture. Rife with unexplained and uncertain futures, VR as an art medium that is filled with possibilities. They just might not be lucrative ones.