On a January cdp.pl conference Ampligamer has a pleasure to moderate a discussion panel about virtual reality. Topic is that hot, as nowadays Orwell’s dream is coming true. VR goggles strongly influence those quickly developing civilizations, literally on our eyes changing tomorrow into today.
Technology in XXI century year by year is increasing its quality, availability and attractiveness. Due to that fact, business – including video games and marketing – can’t remain ambivalent. Who is not able to keep up with a peloton gaining more and more speed, loses a chance of getting clear of the pack and winning a race. Years long, gaming industry had been rejecting VR because of the weak ergonomics of devices, until Oculus Rift conquered hearts of Kickstarter users in 2012. Afterwards, founder of the goggles Palmer Luckey sold his invention to Facebook, collecting – boom! – 2 billion dollars. From this time, VR is perceived as a goose with a golden eggs, while world format giants became ready to subsidize research and production with astronomical amounts of money.
A VR cake is set in the spotlight of such firms, like Sony (PlayStation VR), Google (Google Cardboard), Samsung (Samsung Gear VR), Razer (Razer OSVR), Zeiss (Zeiss VR One), as well as Microsoft (Hololens), which bets on aesthetics of mixed reality. Conspiracy theories claim that in Cupertino Apple is already creating exclusive virtual reality for iPhones. Poles aren’t worse – they’ve got their VR too! HTC produces HTC Vive goggles with a support of one and only Valve, but Vrizzmo and Cmoar also solicit for honors.
Video games medium was thoroughly entwined by VR tentacles and we can only imagine which platform – PC, consoles or mobiles – will catch that unquestionable revolution in the fastest way. Fight for market dominance between all goggles is going to be enormous and comfort of using them is already a bargaining card. For the end user it’s all about attractive ergonomics, quality of displayed content (drawbacks like pixels and virtual disease = developer’s nightmare) and additional lenses or controllers like Oculus Touch. Crucial is also an optimization of production costs and lowering final costs of equipment in stores all over the world.
It’s a truism that video games industry felt invasion of VR goggles the most. Widely understood entertainment, culture and art also has changed. Media experts and people from film and television put a theory that with popularization of virtual reality role of passive recipient will be degraded by active participant of action. Old media we know today will well-nigh disappear. Teasers suggest Google Jump will offer possibility of completely immersive watching of 360 films, what means that we will move ourselves from domestic quiet to epicenter of fiction events.
I’m sure that American music industry pretty soon will standardize high quality 360 music videos, as already in Poland – in rap for example – we can observe first shy experiments of using virtual reality for promotional purposes. Technological reinforcement in porn industry also didn’t go unnoticed, as the VR trend is a unique chance for reaching yet undiscovered horizon of immersion and new monetization models. Getting hot! 😉
Furtherome, tourism within few years will propose trips to such exotic places on Earth, like Mexico, Chernobyl, Syria or Cape Verde – without pressure of leaving home. For future generations virtual sightseeing and verifying of hotels before packing any luggage is going to be a routine. Alteration won’t omit constantly growing sector of e-commerce too.
We will want firstly to give a careful check to products we buy in the Internet: keep for a moment in virtual hands, try on, turn on, feel. Experience! Wander across real estates, drive a car through a city or ride a new open rollercoaster in an amusement park we plan to visit during upcoming family holidays. Marketing and promotion are developing a lot within last few years thanks to their inseparable romance with technology, nevertheless the biggest change is still ahead of them.
Business doesn’t sleep, virtual reality force people to keep eyes open wide. Autopsy shows how much fun I have from playing mobile games with support of rather cheap, cardboard dummy of VR. Dummy, but capable of transporting me from here to ‘there’. And goggles are surely going to revolutionize education, science, medicine (treatment of arachnophobia, acrophobia, claustrophobia), communication, HR, vocational trainings (pilots, astronauts and soldiers has caught a deep breath here), architecture, sport and many other areas of life.
12 millions of headsets will occur in homes all over the world only this year. From the other hand – do you remember how long did it take touch-screens to win a battle for our pockets with button-oriented mobile phones? Indeed! Cyberpunk’s here! 🙂
PS: Intriguing is a fact that virtual reality is changing PR & Marketing globally, but with its own PR & Marketing activities has a small problem. Saying someone that certain video game is immersive or will be immersive in a certain moment is ridiculous, because immersion is based on indefinite number of elements (design, narration, gameplay, etc.), incentives, emotions and usually coincidence. Specific description of virtual reality experience and advantages of a product is impossible to create, as user involvement in content consumption is different for each person, while impressions personalized and abstract.