There is an ongoing enthusiasm about VR being the next big thing, and I do share it, however it constantly lags behind this promise, and here are my thoughts on Why.
The sad story is about VR platform company inability to produce proper go-to-market strategies. For example, lets take the most popular one – Oculus, despite the fact that it is part of Facebook for a while, and also has a pretty professional tech team behind it by now, it still ships only to select countries, does not work through IT distributors, virtually does not exist in electronics stores and does not have a decent Kiosk mode for its mass market device – Oculus GO.
The most Oculus has managed to produce as a Business version, is adding an international charger, business warranty and support line. That is not a serious offering.
In summer 2018 I was traveling to London, UK, and tried to find an electronics shop which sells Oculus. I didn’t find a single one. There are none. The closest I got to a VR device was Gear VR and Google Daydream boxes for phones, thats it.
If you look at other offerings, like HTC, there are some enterprise features coming up, and at least this manufacturer is thinking about something in this area, but the price point is plain wrong. At least from the VR market penetration sake. If you have to pay almost 1000 Eur for a VR kiosk, you will avoid the thing altogether and think about something else instead for the most part.
Dell, HP, Lenovo and others, that do Windows Mixed Reality sets, clearly lack any product strategy whatsoever. It seems like someone in the corporate ladder has said “we have to be in the VR space”, and then hundreds of busy bees went out and “occupy it” with bunch of, mostly, sub-par products. But that is not enough. One needs to be very clear about all use cases, and product owners have to stand and fall for every single one of them. So these folks have a traditionally strong distribution relationship, its just that their products either are not good enough or don’t make any use case sense for the market.
The challenge here is that VR companies are not focusing on the right problem. They are trying to sell their devices as if VR is something needed and wanted. But it isn’t The first and foremost task is selling Virtual Reality, and your product comes right after that.
Here are my 5 cents on what has to be done in order to succeed in accelerating VR to the deserved status of The next big thing.
- Set your use cases straight and build your product so that it fits them smoothly. Don’t compromise on UX!
- Fix the distribution.
- Get it out there – in the shopping mall, in the specialty store, anywhere, just get in the hands of actual customers.
- Sell and support your product globally – no excuses!
- Ensure the SDK gives most control over your product up to the lowest detail – smart kids in the market will figure out themselves how to squeeze most value out of it – watch, listen and learn!
*featured image – Dell Visor product.