“One (person) in ten tells the other nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy”, write authors, Ed Keller and Jon Berry.
The Game Has Changed
In one sense, since 2003 when this statement was first published, nothing much has changed. In another sense, everything has changed. Enter the tidal wave of VR technology and gaming, where a person can experience a 3-D environment and actually feel what it’s like, to say, step into the shoes of Lionel Messi or Christiana Ronaldo, sensing the ball at your feet, your opponent at your side, and the goal in front of you. Have you ever wanted to “step into” the tv set and enter the world of the game or show?
2016: The Year of VR?
Technologies that were formerly available only to Military Units around the world, through flight simulation systems used to train Airplane Fighter Pilots, are now being marketed to ordinary citizens and gamers. In fact, 2016 has been called “The Year of VR”, for good reason. The Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR, all launching this year, as companies like HTC, Sony, and Oculus, compete for space and marketshare in this burgeoning industry.
VR Early Adopters
But who buys VR gaming; buys into it, I mean? Who are these early adopters passionately evangelizing their friends and families about why they should buy this-or-that new VR platform? According to Darren Dunn, these early adopters look more like communities than individuals. Analyzing the Affinio Platform and studying “the twitter handles of of @Oculus, @htcvive, Microsoft’s @HoloLens, and @googlecardboard”, Dunn says, “we can paint a picture of the communities that are first to utilize VR tech.” He goes on to name a few of these communities, which he refers to as ‘tribes’: “Indie Game Developers, Education Technology, and VR Junkies.”
Even though VR isn’t a new idea, it’s still very fresh in terms of getting a relatively low priced, high-quality product to market that the average consumer can enjoy. As early adopters of a fairly known but, up until now, relatively unmarketable gaming genre, these communities serve as “leading indicators” of what people will buy, or at least, be willing to try out in the near future.
What kind of person buys into VR, early, before it’s proven it’s profit-producing potential? Perhaps we should ask, Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR. At 16, it’s well known, Luckey started making virtual reality headsets, at 19 he founded Oculus VR, and at 21 he sold his company to Facebook for $2 billion. Commenting on how his own fascination with VR grew, Luckey said:
“Virtual reality is in so much science fiction, across a wide variety of stories, that even if you’re not particularly interested in VR, if you’re a sci-fi enthusiast you end up learning a lot about it. That’s what happened. I grew up my whole life thinking virtual reality was very cool, and I thought that it must exist in secret military labs somewhere.”
It takes a certain kind of person to “get into” VR, it would seem. Someone we could say, like Luckey: curious, pioneering, threshold-pushing, and visionary. It would appear that the Elon Musks, Palmer Luckey’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world have a common denominator: they’re focused on the future!
How about you? Is VR on your radar? Are you adopting it’s potential and “singing VR’s praises” through your social network? If so, leave a comment and let me know what you think.