The current state of virtual reality (VR)
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
Editor’s Note: This article was written in 2017. Since the landscape for virtual reality (VR) has changed, we have an updated VR article for you to read.
Everyone seems to agree with this statement, that virtual reality is the future of technology. That it is the next type of platform/environment that will go mainstream.
VR is being built for smartphones. It’s being built as standalone devices. It’s being provided with powerful gaming systems.
It’s coming, and depending on the context, it’s already here.
So, why aren’t app developers flocking to it yet?
One of the greatest things about the mobile revolution we’ve all been living through is how quick the adoption of smartphones occurred. It seemed just yesterday that everyone went from the Motorola Razr to the iPhone and Motorola Droid (remember those things?).
Here is the thing. Cell phones had already existed for years.
VR isn’t going to have the same adoption because it isn’t a technological improvement to a current device. It’s a whole new category.
This is something a lot of individuals, especially techies, don’t seem to grasp.
There is also this. Those with great ideas are hesitating to invest into VR because they very likely could be early. They don’t want to create the Friendster to eventually MySpace, Facebook. They don’t want to be Napster to what was iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify.
Plus, VR development right now is expensive. It’s like in the 1990s when a static, basic HTML website would cost you $20,000. Not a lot of talent is available, able to built it, and the demand means the few that can charge a fortune.
Also, VR still hasn’t discovered how the population, the status quo, will adopt the platform. Facebook seems to be investing heavily into the OS-equivalent of what the platform will be with Oculus, but still, you don’t know in 2017 if they will create the next iOS/Android, or only the next Windows Mobile or PalmOS (seriously, remember that?).
Of course, one solution for VR makers is to make VR mainstream. Since right now, the average consumer never has experienced VR before, it can be hard even to explain how exactly it works. For those who have worn a pair of Oculus, Google Cardboard, Playstation VR, the first time you experience VR compared to how you thought it would be, is still a mind-boggling experience, right?
Why is this important? Because targeting the average Joe who only sees advertisements of those wearing VR-headsets over their heads just look ridiculous. The value proposition isn’t noticeable, at least right now, by the naked eye.
There are ways though we’re able to combat this.
For starters, theme parks. Yes, theme parks.
Samsung has partnered with Six Flags and has turned several popular attractions into VR-heavens. Use Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey as an example. Smacked down between both Philadelphia and New York City; and still a somewhat reasonable drive for Washington DC, Baltimore, and though rather a stretch, New England. Millions of guests enter this park every year; and the perfect opportunity for Samsung to get those who may not be attracted to a traditional VR commercial to experience the product in person, in an environment that tests your senses.
How? By putting it onto rides and attractions that are very popular. Currently, the tallest drop tower ride in the world, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom allows you to wear a Samsung Gear VR headset, and a battle of a spider invasion before dropping over 400+ ft. Last October, the theme park offered a VR experience Halloween themed for their Fright Fest event on their roller coaster, Skull Mountain.
You’re getting regular individuals in a popular setting to experience VR. It’s getting those who otherwise probably know no one on their network, not very into tech outside of their traditional devices, to try something new. To experience VR for the same time.
You also have this, augmented reality. Not as often discussed, and sure, people will argue differently than VR. However, augmented could become a disrupter in the workforce. It bridges the game from purebred VR to a somewhat real-world setting that applies to a lot of everyday jobs.
Virtual reality is coming. We’re often asked at Chop Dawg if we support this; and what demand is like. It’s growing. A lot more are paying attention. We still have a way to go before we reach the mainstream tipping point and could still be years away, but it is worth observing every consumer trend, and how the industry is planning to break through the wall to becoming a mass-consumed product for all.