- Two separate studies covered by Ad Age illustrate the challenge virtual reality still faces in the marketplace. Yes Lifecycle Marketing found that only 8% of marketers report currently using VR in their advertising and 35% said they have no intention on including VR in marketing.
- Forrester Research on U.S. online adults found that 42% have never heard of VR headsets and 46% don’t see a use for the technology in their lives.
- In other VR news, Facebook is closing 200 out of 500 Oculus demo stations at Best Buy locations based on “seasonal changes” as reported by Seeking Alpha.
Despite a number of interesting deployments by publishers and brands, the virtual reality opportunity may be more hype than reality at the moment. The tech remains very cutting edge, adoption is in its infancy and, on the creative side, people are still wrapping their minds about how to best make use of the highly immersive and interactive storytelling experience. Still, savvy marketers will continue to experiment in a space that is expected to eventually gain wider adoption as costs come down.
The shuttering of the Oculus demo stations at Best Buy stores indicates a lack of interest, but the Oculus rig is among the most expensive at around $800 and realistically the total cost is closer to $3000 when users factor in the powerful computer systems needed to fully realize what Oculus can do. In contrast, lower-end VR systems like Samsung Gear and Sony’s PlayStation VR have been more successful on the consumer side.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has thrown cold water on the idea that Oculus is about to explode, stating that Facebook's investment when it acquired Oculus will take 10 years to be fully realized. Oculus is also now embroiled in a lawsuit, with ZeniMax alleging that Oculus' founder stole its intellectual property.
It’s not surprising that VR adoption by marketers is so low because the barrier for entry is relatively high. Looking past the content challenge from a creative and production standpoint, VR efforts require special hardware as well as an audience that would be receptive to the format. That latter point is borne out by Forrester’s finding that 42% of U.S. adults weren’t familiar with the hardware around VR at all.