My obsession with VR started about 4 months ago when I was sitting at my desk flicking through the newspaper. The front page that day had a photo of Obama and Merkel hand shaking in VR. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘This VR thing is getting big’. A couple of days later a project landed on my desk to review the latest & biggest VR content outside of gaming. I was totally magnetised by the developments and opportunities it presented. And it’s not just the VR experience one has that’s so exciting, there’s something mesmerising about watching people have a VR experience too- people twitching, laughing and gasping with a goggle contraption attached to their face.
In the UK, last year, 20% of those polled by NVision said they have had a VR experience. Volume of social conversation increased by 57% from 2014 to 2015, and by another 40% from 2015 to 2016 (Jan – Aug only).
The choice of VR experiences is expanding, but gaming VR experiences still dominate the industry, which probably explains why more men (26%, NVision) have tried VR vs. women (15%, NVision)- not to er, stereotype or anything. Outside of gaming itself, the education sector, the entertainment, news and music industries are all investing and exploring the realm of virtual reality.
The technology is still in its infant stages, which partly explains why the perceptions people have are mixed. People have expressed their concerns around VR being an isolating experience that has the potential to take away from real life experiences. However for most people, the opportunities and current positives outweigh the concerns. Already there are signs of breaking down the barrier that says VR does not offer a shared experience. McCann New York’s “Field Trip to Mars” for Lockheed Martin, was a stunning and educationally shared VR experience that won an impressive 19 Lions at Cannes this year.
Now and in the near future, educational and shopping VR experiences (of large ticketed items) are considered to be massive pros for family life. It’s already giving people the chance to step into the vivid colours straight from Van Gogh’s palette and explore his world through his eyes, and that’s just one example. I believe the content future possibilities are endless- from trying on new clothes without leaving the house, perusing the next family home to stepping back in time to virtually experience the streets during the Great Fire of London.
There’s a general consensus that VR is not just a fad. This is just the beginning of the VR journey and far from the end.
Source: NVision and YourVoice
Thanks to the OMD Insights team (Sam Brodie & Joe Wilson) for providing statistics.