Feb 22, 2016 slush
(Photo: Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg)
It was not the new phone that stole the attention at the launch event, but the news that the Oculus-powered Gear VR headset (set to retail at $100) is added to every single pre-order.
For over a year now, entrepreneurs interested in building businesses within VR have waited for a major commercial push that would deliver VR headsets to the hands of millions of consumers. Samsung seems to have answered the call, as it announced yesterday that by this summer, tens of millions of consumers worldwide would be equipped with VR-related gear.
One year ago, The Korea Times reported that S6 pre-orders would range between 15 and 20 million units. There’s no reason to assume that a new top-end device coupled with a VR accessory would ship any less units.
Naturally, the development of VR hardware and software has for several years focused on the enabling technology — the backbone and basics of the devices, platforms and services we will use in the future. Finally, this Sunday marked the beginning of a big shift for B2C virtual reality businesses.
At Slush 2015, Mike Rothenberg from the world’s most active VR fund, Rothenberg Ventures, made it clear that consumer applications have begun in the domain of games and entertainment. This was also evident in Samsung’s launch, as the pre-order package includes a collection of games.
Facebook seems to think the next step is social, as they have in-house teams that develop social applications for the VR age. With the exponentially increasing consumption of FB’s 360 videos, it’s easy to agree with Zuckerberg’s sentiment.
At Slush, Rothenberg also outlined what they as a company think could be the first applications to emerge:
With the simultaneous quick development of VR camera equipment, such as the Nokia Ozo, one can presume that there will be an exponentially larger library of VR content available within a year. Also, just as possibilities for live streaming have emerged, we can begin to eagerly wait for the first ‘VR Skype’.
It is interesting to see what type of VR companies are founded in 2016, and who can make it big over the next 12 months. Expect Slush 2016 to shine light on the future of VR and present the game-changers of the fascinating technology.
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