According to Fortune 2015, virtual reality is expected to generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020. Around 500 million VR headsets are expected to be sold by 2025, says Piper Jaffrey. An assessment done by Yulio Technologies in 2018 has discovered that nearly 44% of the people interested in buying VR devices are between the ages 18-35, and 41% of adults say that they would give VR a try if given the opportunity.
With all these statistics coming to the limelight, it is important to know what VR or Virtual Reality is and how it impacts social media.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment, which can place the user inside an experience. Instead of a 2D interaction, the user is exposed to 3D worlds by simulating the various senses such as vision, hearing, touch, and smell.
VR differs from AR (Augmented Reality) in a manner that it uses the computer sensors and math to locate the user’s eyes in the simulated environment, rather than locating a real time physical camera.
There are three major players in the market for virtual reality- Oculus, HTC and Sony (PSVR).
Facebook Technologies, LLC is doing its business as Oculus after acquiring Oculus in 2014. It partnered with Samsung to launch the Samsung Gear VR in 2015 for mobile phones. This provided a complete virtual reality experience for the mobile apps, thereby contributing to the increasing application of VR in social media.
Other VR devices by Oculus include the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest.
HTC released its first VR, HTC Vive in 2016 and it has been one of the best VR HMDs since then. Apart from that, HTC also has devices like HTC Cosmos, HTC Focus and HTC Plus that provide a complete virtual reality experience to the user.
Sony (PlayStation VR)
The PSVR by Sony is tethered to PlayStation 4 gaming system which had an existing user base of millions of users. Since Sony’s customers didn’t have to upgrade their hardware, so PSVR became the most affordable high-end HMD.
With increase in number of units sold, we can infer that VR gaming and VR social connections are here to stay.
VR and Social Media
To emerge as a technical revolution, companies and investors are shifting to VR for their social media management with time. For social media, the use of VR is still in the infancy stage. The idea of 360 videos seems very immersive and interactive and is therefore being advertised.
There are numerous virtual worlds on various social media platforms that allow users to create avatars and socially interact with other players. However, virtual reality stations the user physically in their avatar’s place and makes the game of virtual worlds more interesting. Head-mounted devices called VR headsets are widely used to provide the complete atmosphere of the simulated world.
With the introduction of multiplayer online virtual reality social platforms like VRChat, virtual reality is turning to be the future of social media. Such platforms let you create, publish, and explore virtual worlds with people from across the globe.
Considering the present trends of VR in social media, it would not be a surprise if it shapes up the future of social media in the coming years.