This post is part of our new VR Influencer series where we interview the world's leading VR experts to get their take on the state of the industry, the top trends to watch for, and what the future holds.
1. What are the top trends you have noticed in VR?
JN: Top trends we’ll likely see in 2018 include all-in-one VR headsets, hand controllers becoming standard, a wave of social VR adoption, and experimentation with 180° video.
Oculus Go is promising a lower price point all-in-one headset that could shift adoption dramatically. We won’t see hardware manufacturers selling without hand controllers, likely becoming standard for maximizing immersion. As lower price point headsets with hand controllers enter more homes around the world, demand for significant social VR experiences will see even greater growth. VR is always better for friends.
While 360° video has been successful with creators looking to create immersive content for platforms and channels, accessibility has been limited. 180° video is a format that more creators can get behind and create content at scale without altering their current production significantly. On top of simpler post-production, we could see 180° video becoming a major addition to most standard production shoot as an immersive supplement.
2. What applications for VR make it a game changer in the tech sphere?
JN: VR creation tools have the potential to significantly impact a range of industries. Whether you’re painting or modeling in VR with tools like Tilt Brush or Medium, we are seeing groups of artists shifting certain aspects of their creative design process straight into VR. On top of it all, VR tools are slowly integrating animation features that will soon allow anyone to intuitively create their own animations from the objects and avatars that they already created in VR.
3. What is, in your opinion, the industry in which VR has the greatest disruptive impact?
JN: In the near term, while consumer VR adoption grows at a slow but steady pace, we will see surges in interest and adoption within specialized verticals outside of just gaming and casual immersion. Especially as we see VR headset prices compress thanks to more accessible all-in-one hardware like the Oculus Go, expect to see significant uptake with education use cases like classroom learning and museum exhibits.
✅ VR is not only a perfect tool to increase retention of information but make learning more intuitive and enjoyable.
4. Would you say that the VR industry is evolving as rapidly as you anticipated, less rapidly, or about as expected? What makes you say this?
JN: For the most part, VR is progressing as expected. While some initial forecasts threw out astronomical adoption rates and projections, I think the industry as a whole has now come back to reality. Overcoming significant barriers to entry for consumers like high price points of hardware is top of mind with many hardware manufacturers. But this will take time. Now studios who were focused solely on VR production are shifting content capabilities to also include augmented reality. And VR platform companies who thought they would ever become the YouTube of VR are realizing quickly they need to diversify revenue sources
5. What’s the future of VR?
JN: Again in the short term, all-in-one VR headsets are going to help make hardware more accessible with lower price points. Augmented reality is still years away from any form of early adoption, but by that time we will see most VR headsets having AR features. Not expecting Apple to jump into the VR/AR headset game anytime soon, but can only imagine the eco-system they will build around AR apps utilizing ARKit. Magic Leap will likely release early developer version this year, but it will be years more before they are able to get the power supply and consumer durability needed to hit early adopter markets.
About Jonathan Nafarrete
Jonathan is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout, the world’s leading immersive media network, reaching millions of people globally and inspiring a new community of VR explorers and creators through original reporting, immersive content, and one-of-a-kind events.
Prior to co-founding VRScout, Jonathan spent close to a decade in digital content strategy, working with brands like Nike, Refinery29, Honda, Toyota and Sony PlayStation.