One of the next great challenges of VR is not the technology, but awareness and more importantly, getting devices into peoples hands. Up until now, there has been a lot of promotion online, but very little in the form of physical experiences, apart from trade shows.
Samsung Gear VR Demo Spotted in the Wild
I surprisingly ran across a Samsung Gear VR demo booth located outside a Vodafone store today in Wiesbaden, Germany. They were actually selling the headsets in store and offering discounts for Vodafone subscribers. After having inquired all over town for about a year now, this was the first physical, in stock VR device I have seen for sale in a store, in this area. Lots of startups and agencies are ordering them, but not so many stores carry any yet.
Based on the recent buzz on AR & VR as well as the upcoming releases from HTC and Oculus, I am going to go out on a limb and say that between now and the holidays, we might be seeing a lot more of these types of popup promotional displays.
Devices In Hands and on Heads
People need to experience VR for themselves and more importantly should have the opportunity to purchase inexpensive headsets to experiment with.
Awareness is great, but the more people who actually own devices and share that unforgettable “VR de-virgin-ing” experience, only then will we see real brand ambassadorship and growing ecosystems of fans that everyone in the industry is dreaming of.
If you are a VR device manufacturer, ship the stuff already! If you are an electronic store or mobile carrier, order this stuff, stock them and promote them! Remember, they work best with larger phones, so its a great upsell opportunity for devices with larger screens.
Have you seen any VR headsets in stock and available for sale in your area? Please share your experiences.