Video games will give consumers their first taste of Virtual Reality.
Few doubt the potential for Virtual Reality and virtual experiences to transcend almost every aspect of our daily lives and a broad range of software is under development to bring this about, with some already in use.
Yet it is video gaming which will lead the charge by creating those initial and powerful consumer experiences of VR. When Oculus chose to demonstrate that it had mastered the software engineering and optical challenges of VR, it used video games to showcase the transformational effect on the gamer experience. Clearly many of the early adopters of VR will come from the gamer community. A new disruptive technology and new video gaming platform have simultaneously emerged.
At E3 (the video gaming industry’s no1 world expo) in Los Angeles earlier this month, it was clear that the gaming industry is in a hurry to get new VR products, both hardware and software, in the hands of its core audience.
There were big platform announcements in VR. We learnt that Sony’s Playstation VR will launch with fifty VR games this October and not to be over shadowed, Microsoft briefed on about Project Scorpio which links X Box One and VR for the first time. This, is in addition to its continued AR investment in Hololens. Oculus chose to make its E3 keynote about its “Touch” controllers which greatly increase player immersion on its Rift based PC platform and will go on sale this year.
The major games publishers are also getting serious about the potential, and some big video gaming franchises on VR were announced at E3. Resident Evil, Batman Arkham Knight, FallOut 4 were a few of the games planned for launch and Ubisoft said Star Trek; Bridge Crew on VR would ship this autumn.
Samsung’s Gear Vr, and now Google with DayDream are poised to expand the VR experience on smart phones/devices and again the initial apps will be game based.
When Mark Zuckerberg surprised many industry watchers with his intention to buy Oculus in March 2014, his ambition was surely to develop VR beyond the relatively limited (in Facebook terms) gaming community. But for now, it is video games which will carry the responsibility of giving the first mass market VR experiences. However, we can expect further tech advances, especially with Facebook investing heavily in its Seattle R&D complex and with that will surely come articulation of that “killer VR app”, which will mobilise millions worldwide, and highlight the real reason Mr Zuckerberg felt he had to be at the forefront of Virtual Reality.
The challenge for the wider business community whilst all this early VR focus is on gaming, is how brands can also use VR to reach their consumers. There are already a number of VR experiences emerging, Jaguar Cars’ fantastic Wimbledon/Andy Murray VR experience that launched recently is a great example. That is exactly why Fundamental VR’s core belief is that VR is an outstanding new technology offering untold opportunities for brands and businesses and far beyond the video gaming community and why as well as our cutting edge studio capabilities we have invested in building a consultative offer to help brands on the journey to leveraging virtual experiences (VR, AR, MR) to gain competitive advantage.
About the blogger…
This post was written by Scott Dodkins of Fundamental VR. Previously Oculus’s European Commercial lead, Scott has recently joined as Head of Consulting.
Fundamental VR is a consultancy and studio that help brands and businesses to harness the opportunities of virtual, mixed and augmented reality by identifying the short, medium and long-term potential to their business. Clients include Bayer, News UK, Boston, Scientific, Oculus, Adidas, BT. Fundamental, a communications agency for the experience age. Find out more here: www.fundamentalvr.com.
VR & AR World 2016, London, October 18 – 20
If you’d like to find out more about how virtual and augmented reality are being used in a range of industries including gaming, healthcare and aviation, and how they will be used in the future, visit the VR & AR World event site.