How will video play out in VR? Will the rectangular 2d video format we’ve known our entire lives translate into immersive VR spaces? We’re already seeing it emerge as a leading format and VR use case, as Netflix is one of the leading apps on Oculus Home.
It’s also clear from survey data that consumers see video as an attractive use case for VR. According to Ericsson’s recent Merged Reality report, a majority of early adopters believe that VR will be the new primary venue to watch video. They also believe that video will emerge as one of the most popular uses of VR, along with gaming.
A relatively smaller — but still significant — amount of consumers are a bit more skeptical though — believing that video in VR will be restricted because it’s isolating. This is a legitimate concern, and players like Bigscreen VR are working on ways around this issue. Social experiences that let users watch video together is one way this will play out.
Overall video’s popularity as an anticipated VR use case isn’t surprising because it’s something we’re used to. Early stages of any emerging tech will often port older/familiar formats to a new medium. But the real success stories will be those that apply “native thinking“. They’ll build specifically for the form factor, rather than shoehorning legacy formats.
There’s historical evidence to back up the above claim: smartphone apps that built experiences based on the unique device capabilities (i.e. GPS, camera, accelerometer) found more success than those that just put desktop media/content/websites on a smaller screen. We’re talking about the Ubers, Wazes and Pokemon Gos of the world.
We’ll see the same principle play out in VR, meaning that video will likely start strong but then diminish as a predominant use case that consumers are excited about. We’ll be watching closely as that unfolds.
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