#VirtualReality is an oncoming freight train; you can get on board or get run over. Here are 7 signs that VR is here to stay.
1 All The Majors Are Already On Board The VR Spaceship – The major tech companies don’t go into an industry unless it’s BIG and by BIG I mean HUGE. Goldman Sach’s expects the Virtual Reality market to grow to $80 billion by 2025, about the size of the desktop PC market today. The race is already on for VR market domination. Facebook has the Oculus Rift VR, SONY has the Playstaion VR (aka Project Morpheus), Microsoft has the Hololens, HTC has the VIVE and the list goes on. With the advance of graphic cards, faster processors and smartphones, the world is now ready and equipped for the 2nd coming of virtual reality.
2 Virtual Reality Is Not Just For Gamers. Most people think of VR headsets as “nice to have” gadgets for gamers; when in actuality virtual reality offers much more utility and amazing visual experiences beyond First Person Shooters (FPS). VR is impacting healthcare, behavioral modification, architecture, real estate, meditation, travel training and many other areas of possibility. We’re working with Miami Children’s hospital to create apps for learning CPR using Virtual Reality. Our VR CPR app puts the rescuer in the actual simulation versus watching the procedure on a flat 2d screen. By using VR, users feel as if they have actually performed the procedure. The simulation also builds empathy and a connection with the victim, unlike reading or watching a video on CPR. By removing economic, physical, and geographical constraints, virtual reality will present previously unimaginable entertainment and educational opportunities to broad audiences.
3 Virtual Reality Is The Third Coming Of The Web. People like to ask if VR will suffer the same fate as 3D TVs.
VR is is not a fad, it is the natural evolution of web – Virtual Reality is Web 3.0
Web 1.0 had images and text (the Yahoo’s and Amazon’s of the world), Web 2.0 had images, text and videos (Social media, the YouTubes ) and now we are at the dawn of Web 3.0 – images, text, video and teleportation – the 3D web, which takes users from being passive observers to active participants. With the growth of virtual reality devices, we are already seeing definite echoes of early consumer patterns seen with web adoption. Virtual Reality will continue to emerge as a viable and important distribution channel for content, social media, collaboration and shopping.
CEEK VR’s recent project was a collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group; where we created a virtual storefront - “Store of the Future” featuring esteemed jewelry designer Wendy Brandes’ “Maneater Collection.” This signifies the beginning of what is known as the Metaverse or the 3D web, an interconnected virtual internet that parallels in some ways the real world but even more magical. Very soon every brand will have their own virtual VR storefront, and each person their avatar and 3D space in the Metaverse.
4. The Revolution Will Be Mobilized - Every year over 1BILLION new smartphones are shipped, for many; these phones represent their first computing device, skipping TV’s and desktop computers which make mobile phones the perfect conduit for Virtual Reality applications globally. As the Pokemon Go craze has demonstrated, mobile phones will be the primary driver for the widespread adoption of Augmented and Virtual Reality. The average consumer is not ready to commit to a pricey VR device yet. Many people find VR to be intimidating, however they crave the magic of immersive experiences and want to try it before committing to buying pricier headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive . This is the reason why CEEK's entry level VR Branded headset which retails for $16.99, used to distribute a VR Concert for Universal Music band Megadeth sold out at most Best Buy stores. My instinct is that VR will reach the masses through smartphones, and mobile VR headsets will be the on ramp consumers take into the world of Virtual Reality.
A moonshot is a transformative idea with the potential to impact billions of people, and Virtual Reality is mobile's ultimate moonshot, VR apps will get mobile users reengaged for substantially longer periods than ever before.
5. Rise Of The Virtual Reality Ecosystem - Industries thrive when they are built atop fertile foundational soil of venture capital, skilled labor, innovations, training programs, enterprises and other interconnected economic agents and pathways that allow ideas to flow, startups to flourish and ultimately create giants in the global marketplace. We are in the early days of VR, like any chain reaction catalytic agents have to be in place for the process to self-amplify. Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of the Oculus Rift started kicked off the current VR revival.
Companies like Apple are also investing heavily in the eco system; over the last few months Apple has acquired VR (or augmented reality) startups including Metaio, FaceShift, FlyBy Media and PrimeSense, HTC recently announced a $10 billion initiative to put investment capital behind virtual reality ventures. CEEK VR is building a VR Content Creation Platform that will let anyone, even those without developer experience to create and distribute immersive VR experiences. This means media conglomerates and other content owners can get to market with speed without having to shell out millions and the lead-time needed to create and distribute VR content. Once 360 cameras become available on phones, we will see 360 content explode the way the advent of camera phones enabled the online video industry, creating global stars like Youtube and Vimeo.
6. Content Is Still King– The lifeblood of any platform is content, without it, no matter how cool the innovation, it ultimately dies – think SONY Mini Disc- a format that promised high quality music content. The minidisc was over priced and the format (ATRAC - Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) wasn’t adopted by the industry – and quietly went to a tech graveyard. Before the mini disc, SONY introduced the Betamax, which by many accounts was technologically superior to VHS, however Betamax was completely out of touch with the needs of content creators and consumers – the VHS could hold four hours of video compared to Betamax’s one, which wasn’t long enough to fit a full movie in many cases. Given the practical nature of the VHS, over forty production companies adopted VHS instead of Betamax.
Every platform lives and dies by content, there is a cycle to the flow of content, it starts with the type of content that entertains, then content for work, then the type of content that we can not live without – this is what I call the play-work-live cycle. Virtual reality has the ability to offer content at every phase of this cycle – starting with music. All major platforms first amass their largest users through music. Music artists have huge fan base i.e. compare Rihanna’s 81 FB Million fans to World of Warcraft’s 6 million fans. Music fans are highly loyal early adopters, once you can win their hearts with compelling content, it reverberates through all other aspects of life and creates demand in many other areas.
PCVR’s primary audience will be console gamers, but mobile VR has to appeal to music fans first. When we launched our VR Concert Bundle at Best Buy, there was a pricier headset manufacturer giving away free VR headsets, we outsold them; proving that people don’t buy headsets they buy experiences.
Virtual Reality is going to transform every facet of life imaginable – but only if we can create great content that entertains, enhances work and improves life!
7. The Advertising Giants Are At The Gates – In the early days of Radio and TV, soap makers like Lever Brothers and Procter & Gamble sponsored dramas aimed at housewives to sell their products, these series later came to be known as Soap operas – a very early form of sponsored content. It is an open secret in media circles that content is a placeholder for advertising; without advertising much of the world’s content would not exist on television, the web, newspapers or on radio. Advertising plays a very key role in motivating content owners to create engaging content; the higher the viewership, the more they can earn to create even more content. The growth of Vlogs on YouTube is in part due to opportunities for Vloggers to earn money from views of their content on YouTube. Premium quality VR experiences are expensive, without the support of the advertising community it will be almost impossible for many independent content owners to commit to this new format, especially given the upfront cost of specialized VR equipment, which varies substantially from standard video needs. A growing list of advertisers including Marriot, Coca Cola, Nissan, Volvo, HBO and BMW have all taken a dip in the VR pool. With these and all the other giants at the gates, we can only expect to see great things happen for the virtual reality industry in the upcoming days. Ready to try VR? Here’s a VR Bundle for $16.95, to get you on your way.
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