Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

Getting Real about Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) as it becomes more prominent in Gaming and in real life applications (Healthcare, Business, Education) is something you should know about. For my father’s company, Universal Information Services, it is technology I’ve put on his radar.

Virtual Reality was fairly unknown just a few years back, with the only big name in the business being the Oculus Rift, a kickstarter project by Oculus VR. Oculus Rift is a headset that comes with two remotes, one for each hand, that can be used to select and control movements in the game. The head set gives you a full 360° environment. First released in 2012 the Rift remained out of reach to the mainstream consumer as it’s price was around $600-$700. But in March of this year a more affordable version was released along with a redesigned design and graphics update. The focus of VR at this point, only on gaming.

Virtual reality and media monitoring

One of the more prominent problems with the Rift was that the only games playable were games coded and developed specifically for the Oculus Rift, keeping its applicability to strictly gaming. Youtuber and online celebrity PewDiePie was one of the first to incorporate the Rift into his channel with many others quickly following suit. The 27 year old PewDiePie made many videos with the Rift, with most of those Youtube videos acquiring about 11 Million views. With his new approach to Youtube video, those videos sky rocketed him to the number one Youtuber with 49 Million subscribers and 13.6 Billion views. That’s a lot!

In the last several months it seems like everyone is jumping on the VR train, including Taco Bell. With HTC releasing the Vive, and soon after Playstation (Sony) releasing Playstation VR, completely changing the game and making VR available to anyone with a PS4 and $400 burning a hole in their pocket. Some excellent strides forward include making big name games available for use via the Playstation Network Online Store. I had the pleasure of demoing Batman Arkham VR and the experience was breath taking. So it got me thinking, what more can VR do for the business world? Beyond the 13-29 year old demographic, who can use VR? And as it hits mainstream, will it just follow the same path as 3D television… that went nowhere.

Failure of 3D television

Now the only thing separating these devices and real life application is the price tag. However there are companies that offer headsets that just include the mirrors and don’t require any batteries, the only downside is they need a $300 iPhone to project the image and headphones with 360° sound to get the full experience. Now could these one day be used as an education/business tool or more specifically a public relation tool. Maybe VR could be used as a way to convey information in a diagram for predictive analytics and PR measurement review, or even allow the user to watch 4 screens at once without having to have the client in person , yes? I think we are headed in the right direction and once the price is reduced to around $250, while still maintaining the functionality of the $400 headsets, the possibilities are endless. From gaming to media monitoring to media measurement. How will you use Virtual Reality?

This has been another post by Teddy Murphy. I’m keeping my eye on what is next.

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