It was exactly a week ago that I got the following email message, out of the blue:
Greetings from Pimax Technology Inc. I hope you are doing well.
My name is Scot Shen, and I am the marketing analyst from Pimax Technology Inc. Pimax is a technology company specializing in virtual reality hardware products, and our goal is to create a better immersive gaming experience for the majority of gamers. We would like to invite you to do a review on our product and post an article [to] ryanschultz.com If you are interested, we will send our products to you to experience.
At first I was flabbergasted, then suspicious (was this a scam?), then quite flattered, and I said yes. But then, after thinking about it over the past weekend, I wrote back to tell Scot that I had changed my mind, and would not be writing a review after all.
So why did I turn down a golden opportunity to test and write a review of this ultra-high-end headset?
In the end, there were three reasons that I decided not to have Pimax ship me one of their sample high-end VR headsets from China to try out and review. First, they wanted me to write my review within 7 days of receiving the device, which I felt was really too short a time to do a proper review (even though the paper I was supposed to sign, scan, and email back to them said that I had 30 days to do my evaluation).
Second, Pimax wanted to read (and presumably, approve) my review prior to my publishing it on the blog. Now, I pride myself on being an independent blogger, who presents the unvarnished truth and calls a spade a spade when I see it, and that particular stipulation made me a little uncomfortable. (Note that I do write sponsored blogposts for Sinespace, for which I am paid; however, I do not shy away from criticism when it is warranted, even with Sinespace! Also, I sometimes share a preview version of a blogpost with someone from the company I am writing about, to catch and correct any factual errors before I publish.)
But the third and biggest reason I said no was this: I simply did not want to go through the hassle of removing my Valve Index hardware, installing the Pimax hardware and software, testing it, and then uninstalling everything again (and probably still leaving bits and pieces of software on my PC). I finally have everything set up just the way I like it, and I really, really don’t feel like fiddling with it (at least, until I decide to throw out my ratty old sofa and set up a room-scale VR environment in my living room, which is still my plan at some future point).
A younger man might have jumped at the opportunity, said yes, and leaped with glee and alacrity through all the hoops, but I am far from a younger man. In fact, I was a bit surprised that Pimax approached me. Although my blog has grown in popularity, and more and more often lately, companies are approaching me to write about their platforms and products, I still don’t consider myself a virtual reality “influencer” (gah, how I despise that term!). I write mainly about a specific, niche subset of virtual reality called social VR, and frankly, I am the very furthest thing from a gamer—which is the target market for this device, as mentioned in the first email I received from them. Somebody’s not doing their research here, folks.
Pimax seems to be conducting a vigorous grassroots campaign to encourage people to write reviews about their Vision 8K X Virtual Reality Headset, which is admittedly a very expensive product (US$2,056.95) from a company which has received some rather scathing reviews for its poor customer service.
I leave you with a unbiased 20-minute review of the Pimax Vision 8K X conducted by Sebastian Ang of MRTV (who compares it with the Valve Index, which I own):
I’m actually quite content to let the truly hardcore, bleeding-edge virtual reality hardware vloggers and bloggers (like Sebastian) fuss and fidget with all the latest bells and whistles. And this will remain primarily a blog about social VR—not VR hardware. (Sorry, Pimax!)