The Ready Player One Effect: Will VR Sales Get a Boost?

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Ready Player One was recently released in cinemas across the world. It was a major studio release, directed by Steven Spielberg, based on a best selling book of the same name.

I’ll always have a permanent museum in my heart for all the best parts of the 80’s. This is a big factor in why I enjoyed Ernie Cline’s book so much. The story evoked all the feelings of nostalgia and bright-eyed youthful optimism unique to my own personal journey through the 80’s. But alongside that was the fact that the story was centred around VR – I’m lucky enough to have been working in VR for the last few years, so I guess Ready Player One was like a perfect storm for me. I also figured that a major studio film directed by one of the industry’s most iconic directors would do a lot to promote VR to the public at large.

For the last few years I’ve demoed my work a lot to people and one of the things I’ve found is that there’s still a LOT of people who haven’t tried VR.

Most are excited to try it, others are nervous and others wonder if it might make them ill.

Having the people embrace this technology as a new medium is critical to the survival of VR. And to many careers. And to my career. This is why I think theReady Player One movie is one of the best things to happen to VR (in an ironically traditional storytelling format). But it’s still too early to tell if the film has made any positive impact on the medium. Will VR hardware sales see an increase after the movie? Will VR content generally see an increase in downloads after the movie?

According to Oculus, the Gear VR had sold over five million units in 2017 while the Rift had recently overtaken the HTC Vive as the most popular headset on Steam. Meanwhile Sony announced that as of April 2018, it had shipped 79 million PSVRs worldwide.

Mark Zuckerberg once said…

‘We want to get a billion people in virtual reality’

…and Facebook is doing all it can to make that happens by releasing two new headsets within the year. The Oculus Go and Santa Cruz are set to remove the barriers to accessing great VR content easily, no cables, no hefty PCs.

Any indicators as to the Ready Player One factor for VR probably wont surface until Q2 2018 when any uptake will be confirmed by sales figures. The picture right now though is that the current state of headset sales is healthy and growing. Hardware manufacturers understand that they need to make it as simple as possible to start watching VR content, and there’s improvements on the way. The Oasis could still happen…

 

 

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