VR is predicted to generate as much as $40 billion in revenues by 2020, according to analysts with research firm SuperData. Mobile VR, which uses smartphone technology to create a VR experience, is one of the major pillars of that forecast because of its wider audience reach. As Framestore VR studio explains, this is because you’re using a device many already have.
Google is trying to earn their share of this mobile VR pie with the launch of their new virtual reality headset, Daydream View, which hit stores earlier this month. The plush, comfortable headset is is an upgrade to Google’s current VR product, Cardboard, and a challenge to Samsung’s Gear headset.
The headset is compatible with any Daydream-ready smartphone, including Google’s new Pixel which has received glowing reviews and seen strong initial sales. Just like the Samsung Gear, Daydream View doesn’t have its own screen but rather holds a smartphone which becomes the VR screen. What’s most notable about the Daydream View, however, is its price at just $79. The cost is less than half that of Samsung’s product and offers users a better experience which eliminates cords and includes a wireless controller.
The initial reviews of the View seem to be all over the place. The Verge reported “it’s the best mobile headset I’ve ever used” while Ars Technica called it the “fast casual restaurant of the VR world.” What I find interesting is that the reviews seem to be as diverse as consumer interest in VR.
So with varying levels of interest and inconsistent reviews of what consumers are looking for, why are companies investing so greatly in VR? Why is it poised to grow so quickly and why is it something that consumers even want?
According to Mintel’s 2017 North American Trends report, the answer to this question may be simpler than you thought. The Mintel report explains:
As we live “in a world of near-constant connectivity,… the feeling of FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) is hard to escape. Consumers are seeking ways to not only engage in new and unique experiences, but to take it a step further and immerse themselves in worlds that are different from – or are enhancements of – their own.”
Today, consumers are gaining glimpses into other worlds through innovations such as live streaming on Periscope, ephemeral messaging on Snapchat and artificial intelligence in Pokémon Go. The mainstreaming of VR will be a result of the consumer’s desire to have even more immersive experiences.
Daydream is just the latest technology to answer this still burgeoning consumer desire. However, it’s improved experience and affordability will certainly help propel the consumer shift toward VR even faster.
Grubb, J. (2016, Nov. 1). Google’s Daydream View VR headset launches November 10, venturebeat.com.
Mintel. (2016, Nov. 3). Mintel Announces Fourth Key North American Trends Report, Mintel.com.
Jazayeri, M. (2016, Nov. 1). Daydream View Coming to Stores November 10th, blog.google.com
Robertson, A. (2016, Nov. 11). Google Daydream View: Mobile VR Done Mostly Right, theverge.com
Orland, K. (2016, Nov. 15). Google Daydream Review: the fast-casual restaurant of the VR world, arstechnica.com