It’s clear that VR is exciting, novel and full of possibility. As this early technology matures, where will virtual reality find it’s home? Through our work over the past few years, we’ve seen VR evolving into a viable and valuable form of content. We are in the middle of this transition now. In addition to deep research, product development and user feedback, we have also had the pleasure of conducting many insightful conversations about the future of VR with our strong community of enthusiasts, technologists and business owners. Here are our takeaways in 3 ways we see VR evolving over the next few years:
1. New Forms of Content
As VR evolves, it’s fascinating to see new use cases develop as new users utilize the new technology in surprising and creative ways. In part, this is driven by the increased means of production. We believe that anyone should be able to create experiential content easily and quickly. As this comes to fruition through better and more accessible technology, we are seeing a proliferation in widely accessible content. In fact, YouTube’s official VR channel has grown to over 2 million subscribers. And much of that growth is driven not by professional companies, but passionate everyday contributors.
Because of the shift in creators, we are seeing new, surprising forms of content emerge everyday. In fact, many creators are diverting from the traditional path of leveraging VR to create fantastical worlds (like in gaming), and instead, creating content that depicts real memorable scenarios. Whether it’s a swimming with pigs or exploring the streets of New York or hanging out at the family bbq, VR content can now be used for capturing, revisiting and sharing meaningful and emotional experiences.
We believe in empowering users to be their own creators and are very excited to see these new creative forms emerge.
2. Telling a Story
(New York Times Daily 360)
What is the purpose of VR content? Well, this drives back to the important purpose of content as a whole. The purpose of content is to tell a story. The question of “What story” is answered by the creator.
It’s been exciting to see VR find a home as a real form of narrative content. This is a fascinating medium that carries much potential for experiential storytelling. Content should be shared and discussed.
We believe that VR can become a truly successful medium for effective communication and storytelling. Our mission is to provide the toolkit to tell better stories and create improved customer journeys. By augmenting, sharing and personalizing virtual environments, users will be able to contribute to a new world of interesting and meaningful content.
3. Increased Accessibility for Use Case Adoption
We saw the gaming industry wholeheartedly adopt VR. The use cases for entertainment were obvious and the transition into using VR headsets were relatively frictionless.
However, today, we are starting to see so many more applications for immersive experiences. There is great interest from a number of early movers in a wide range of industries. For example, brick and mortar spaces are now interested in letting online visitors experience the space before visiting. In architecture projects, before and after shots can be wonderfully displayed in immersive content. In healthcare, there are many innovative and effective applications for training personnel and treating patients. In education, immersive environments can be an effective platform for learning new concepts and skills.
The applications are far reaching. However, the rate of user adoption is what will really determine the success of VR in new industries. Many of the use cases will require early adoption of new technologies and a creator’s deep understanding of the user journey. This process can be expedited by VR coming through many more traditional screens (desktop, mobile) first. We believe accessibility will play a big early role in driving this adoption.