In late October, Oculus VR, the virtual reality company owned by Facebook, released an app called the Oculus Social alpha for Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset users. This initial version of the app allows users to transport to a “small movie theatre” as an avatar and watch movies from Twitch or Vimeo. The app also allows users to chat with up to four other avatars who are also in the theatre.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it really is a major milestone. It’s the first social experience ever provided for an Oculus VR-based platform. And this is just the beginning. A lot of experts say that 2016 will be the Year of Virtual Reality.
The Oculus Rift platform, Microsoft’s Hololens, Google’s Cardboard platform and many other VR content products will all be introduced into the consumer market next year. These platforms will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging.
Mark Zuckerburg explained, “Oculus Rift is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”
Virtual reality social networking will be compelling because it will enable people to interact with others as the versions of themselves they want to present to the world. For millions of people, the world of virtual reality will be an escape from the real world. And although it could further enhance the isolation among people, it will allow users to transport to another world that is amazing and fascinating.
For early adopters, virtual reality will begin next year. However, this culture-shifting mass adoption that I mentioned above is probably five years away. So don’t worry just yet. But as marketers and advertisers, it is important to know where we will need to be placing messaging in order to reach our target audiences. In case you were wondering, we are already planning what our Cyphers Agency’s avatars will look like. Just saying’…