2016 is quickly shaping up to be a major year for Virtual Reality. At CES, it was apparent that VR and AR were top of mind for many technology companies, brands, and agencies. It also gave us a glimpse of what to expect in terms of pricing from major VR headset manufacturers, with Oculus starting preorders for the Rift at $599. It was an indication that Oculus and other VR headset manufacturers making the first step will be prioritizing quality over affordability with first-generation devices. We’ve seen Tesla use a similar strategy in the automotive industry, preferring high quality and slow market growth over mass adoption and affordability.
While six hundred bucks may dissuade a bulk of consumers from purchasing their own headsets this year, brands are presented with interesting opportunities to create meaningful VR experiences today. Below are some examples of how brands can use VR to make a big impact in 2016.
Unveiled at Google I/O last year, Google Cardboard allows for all modern smartphones to be turned into a simple VR headset, not unlike a retro View-Master. While user input is limited, it allows for massive brand deployments at a relatively low cost.
Recently, YouTube and Facebook introduced support for 360 videos. This added support allows for users to look around a scene by either turning their phone or dragging a mouse on desktops and laptops. For mobile viewers, Google Cardboard can turn the device into a simple VR viewer.
One of the most attractive characteristics of 360 videos is that they can be created once and deployed to a number of devices, even ones with no VR support. This is because the technology builds off of a lot of tools that already exist for traditional video, allowing for existing platforms and devices to easily support it.
Onsite VR activations (that are done well) can be hugely successful for brands. They allow brands to provide their audiences with fully immersive experiences in a highly controlled environment. Because these onsite experiences are usually very targeted, the economics might make sense to use high-end VR headsets to improve the overall quality of the activation.
2016 is already a major year for VR. With the first round of consumer devices slated to ship soon, there seems to be no end in sight as the medium continues to gather momentum. Anticipate lots of ground to be covered by early adopter brands and creatives, filling the massive void for VR content that currently exists. Subvrsive was built exclusively to help agencies and brands make the most out of marketing and advertising opportunities that exist in this new and exciting medium. If you are a brand, agency, or prospective customer looking to understand how to create a valuable experience of impact in the VR space, feel free to reach out.
*Header image courtesy of Getty Images for Samsung.