Virtual Reality is a today’s buzzword for the big players not only in the game industry. Oculus Rift – probably the shortest way to finally bring the VR reality to market – was purchased by Mark Zuckerberg for $2 billion last year. “Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventure” said the owner of Facebook. Maybe, his words have already become a reality.
In the Re/Code’s Code Media conference held in Dana Point on February 18, Facebook’s head of product, Chris Cox, revealed that the company is working on the apps for VR. The goal is to build the apps that let users share not only content, but also their current environment.
Does it matter for eCommerce?
Gamers expect high quality and do not like compromising their expectations. So, if something is good enough for them, it will probably be good for sellers and buyers. If the Oculus Rift is the bull’s eye, we should get ready for a profitable change in all e-Commerce.
Maybe, in the next 5 – 10 years the interaction with websites and trade will happen via VR. This could have an impact as profound as past communication technologies. When using VR glasses, the users will be able to see the products in real time, spin and roll them, see a lot of information about the products and recommend specifically them.
It will be possible to meet sellers not in real offices but in virtual locations that are more convenient for a client. The changeable environment that creates an illusion of a three-dimensional immersion will also be perfect solution to build tighter the relationships with customers. Using devices like Oculus Rift will make it possible to build rapport with clients in a more accessible, personable, and always available way.
The other side of the coin
Technologically speaking, the new model of Oculus Crescent Bay prototype presented at CES 2015 in January is impressive, but unfortunately still inadequate for the long-term use. Today, neither Oculus nor other major players in the VR growing market offer an e-commerce platform for their games or apps. There is also a question of the users’ reaction to staying longer in a VR environment. Some people have reported a motion or simulation sickness.
Can Oculus Rift really guarantee more than just a sensation of floating in space?
One of the biggest challenges of the immersion devices is to give the users not only eyes, but also hands. This could be done using, for example, the Leap Motion controller. Being able to see and control the avatar hands gives a more immersive experience. What is even more impressive, is the fact that the hands look almost real. Although, the connection of Leap Motion and Rift is still imperfect, we can be pretty sure that solving this problem is only a matter of time.
Oculus is not the only contestant in the race of creating a functional VR. The razer OSVR virtual reality headset, the Open Source Virtual Reality development platform, or the Samsung Gear VR headset can also make strong rivals in the fight for the market. The winner is still unknown but, surely, they will take it all and upgrade the virtual reality from being a tech novelty to being a mainstream must-have for consumers.