Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality the next big game changing platform

If you have read any of my posts on the Marketing Matters blog, you have probably worked out one thing about me. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

So it will come as no surprise that I am incredibly excited to try the new Oculus Rift headset! What’s Oculus you say? Well I’m glad you asked, because soon it will be changing your life forever.

Oculus VR, otherwise known as “The Rift”, is a virtual reality head mounted display currently in development. Virtual reality really isn’t a new thing. I can remember as a teenage going to the arcade and playing VR games. But do not mistake “The Rift” for this same primitive and clunky technology of the past.

OK…I sense you're not yet sold on the idea of virtual reality.

Well, the Oculus team only began prototyping their concept in 2012 after raising $2.4 million from a kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Fast forward two years and Facebook paid a whopping $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, plus a further $300 million subject to conditions.

I am pretty sure I have your attention now! The Oculus team certainly were able to grab Facebook’s attention drawing that much money for a two-year-old project.

News broke earlier this week that in early 2016 we will finally get to see the first consumer version of the headset available for sale. The VR of the new headset is a completely immersive experience. It is quite unlike anything you will have ever experienced before and is like stepping into another world. This is not a gimmick like 3D TV’s; this is very much a game-changing platform.

Source: Gizmodo.co.uk

The implications for marketing are going to be unbelievable. This is a new platform with a new way to connect with consumers. So, I guess with a statement like that I should give some bold predictions to what we could expect in the future. I am going to preface this by staying that all new technologies usually take at least two generations before they become widely adopted. That being said, here are some things to consider:
  1. VR is going to be huge in the gaming community. I can see this headset being popular with hard-core gamers, but it will quickly become mainstream. In fact, Xbox maker Microsoft have already teamed up with Oculus to support Xbox-to-windows game streaming.
  2. Death of the cinema. Or at least as we currently know it. Who is going to want to watch 2D or 3D films anymore? When you can be transported into a new augmented world rather than simply watching it.
  3. University teaching will change. How will classes be delivered? The Universies who do best will be the ones who embrace this new generation of technology and integrate it seamlessly into the learning experience.  
  4. Doctors will use VR as part of standard medical practice. They already spend small fortunes on simulators and headsets for performing surgical procedures.
Mark Zuckerberg said that virtual reality is the next major computing platform. With a budget the size of Facebooks supporting this aim, we would be foolish to think differently. I look forward to looking back at this blog in five to ten years time and seeing how many of these predictions I got right.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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