Last year, AR and VR raked in $1.8B, with 6.3M headsets shipped. And those numbers are expected to just keep climbing. Join this VB Live for insights into VR and AR usage, consumer attitudes, and to learn whether the massive potential audience that exists is ready to go virtual.
With virtual reality and augmented reality starting to make meaningful penetration, it’s time to start thinking of them as potential new marketing channels — places to market and sell and engage customers in very new, innovative, and powerful ways.
Worldpay, the payment processing company, is keeping tabs on the VR and AR revolution in order to have a strategy ready to deply. They recently conducted a global study on the attitudes toward VR in countries across the world, and the results are illuminating, says Laura Gemmell, Innovation Analyst, Technology Innovation, at Worldpay.
Despite analysts’ gloomy predictions about the cost of hardware devices driving consumers away, interest is there and it’s growing.
“We’e found that China loves VR and AR,” Gemmell says. “They are so keen to use it and keen to buy. 93 percent of Chinese people really really want to buy a device.”
However, the UK is lagging behind, she noted. The Brits don’t see the use for it, and interestingly, don’t understand why it’s safe, from a payment perspective — perhaps, Gemmell suggests, because there are a number of technophobes in the UK. She says that gaming’s lack of popularity in the UK, paired with the perception of VR as a game-focused technology, combines to make VR not a particularly interesting technology, overall.
In the U.S., however, 55 percent agree that VR is going to be as popular of smartphones. However, 80 percent of respondents only saw it being used in specialist industries. Yet the U.S. was one of the countries in which respondents had quite a lot of experience using the HTC Vive.
Consumer adoption is going to be incredibly important for the industry. What is holding them back from wide-scale embrace? That answer depends on the class of virtual reality device, Gemmell explains.
There’s mobile-driven, which includes things like the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View, etc. And then what some people are calling the high-end VR consumer unit, such as the Sony Playstation VR, HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, from Facebook. Mobile seems to be driving interest in VR, From a consumer standpoint at the moment, as the price points are significantly lower.
Here is how Gemmell breaks down the various barriers:
Expense. The issues with the higher end units is, as always, the expense, Gemmell notes, with devices selling upwards of $600 and more.
Form factor. Another issue is the form factor — these devices are tethered to the hardware they run off, which makes the technology a lot better and the virtual reality much more immersive, but the whole setup is often found annoying and cumbersome.
Tech complexity. The biggest barrier is the complexity of the technology. With the Playstation headset, you simply use your console. With the HTC and Oculus Rift, you’re looking at a very high spec computer, and it’s nowhere near the set it and forget it stage that makes consumers flock to a technology, since the software also requires constant updates and maintenance, Gemmell says.
Content. Currently, there isn’t that much content available, Gemmell says. If you’re a gamer, there are a few titles available now, and presumably more are coming. There’s a dearth of experiences and storytelling right now — certainly nothing that would compel the mainstream consumer to buy in. The killer app hasn’t been found yet — the one that gets consumers to flock to picking up their mobile phones or going out there and buying any of the high end devices.
“This is like mobile phones,” says Gemmel. “When the first smartphone came out, you probably would have struggled to get apps on your phone, whereas now there’s an app for everything.”
The killer app, she says, needs to be more immersive. She points to a potential use case for VR in online shopping, where a consumer can interact with and examine products, or try on clothing.
“I think that will be amazing and get consumers excited, and be a way to bring VR into real life,” she says. “I think that will be great, but we’re awhile off from having that at the moment.”
The entertainment industry, which is quite often the major driver between new technology adoption, is lagging behind as well. Once movie or tv show content starts being offered in VR experiences, VR will become a technology people will want in their homes, she suggests.
“AR is a different technology,” Gemmell. “You can actually use it on your mobile phone, and it’s much easier to get consumers involved in augmented reality than virtual reality. It’s more social. You can use augmented reality with your friends. At the minute, using virtual reality with your friends is quite antisocial and awkward.”
The potential of AR to become mass market – and mass marketable — is more immediate too, she notes, because of its ability to deliver information and insight on the go through a user’s mobile phone. For instance, she offers, enhancing a museum display. A user holds up their phone for additional information, and that’s where marketers can come in.
However, while the AR headsets and setups that exist now are less bulky and slightly ridiculous than VR gear, realistically, Gemmell says, that type of AR isn’t going to get any sort of massive consumer adoption until it starts to look like a pair of Raybans.
Addressing barriers to entry
The biggest barrier to entry is unfamiliarity. A headset isn’t something to casually buy and try. The solution?
Give people exposure,” Gemmell says. “Put up augmented reality and virtual reality displays in shops or at concept stores — just getting people to come along, try the technology on in a really fun, inclusive environment. That needs to happen quite a lot before people are going to want to buy these technologies for themselves. They will need to be able to address them and see them before.”
She suggests this explains the popularity of VR in China. The technology is actually quite ubiquitous, with headsets found in karaoke bars and shops.
Another way is enabling payments inside the VR and AR experience that are not just secure, but make consumers feel confident enough to actually offer their payment information freely in exchange for new experiences and new content.
This is especially crucial because analysts are predicting that micropayments within experiences are going to be the most common and most lucrative way for companies to monetize VR.
Where to start
You’ve got the lay of the land — now catch up on this VR Live event for a deep dive into how your company can start to leverage the power of VR and AR in your marketing strategies.
Don’t miss out!
By accessing this VB Live event, you’ll:
- Understand VR and AR attitudes across the globe
- Learn what’s holding consumers back from these technologies
- Introduce innovation with AR and VR into your own organization
- Learn how payment technology will help facilitate new VR/AR experiences
- Hear what experts think the future holds
- Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
- Laura Gemmell, Innovation Analyst, Technology Innovation, Worldpay
- Wendy Schuchart, Moderator, VentureBeat
Source: virtual reality – VentureBeat