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VRX 2015 Conference & Expo Takeaway #1: Content is King

Insights from the VRX Conference – VR Intelligence 2015

One quick “virtual reality” Google search will show you there’s huge momentum about VR. While the tech industry is probably most excited, the enthusiasm is contagious and numerous other industries are buying in to become early adopters.

Earlier this week we attended the VRX 2015 Conference & Expo in San Francisco, CA. It was a very inspiring event, with many of the major VR players like Google, HTC, Oculus, and Sony on stage. The sessions were informative, speakers were engaging, and the numerous demos were very cool. While there were several key takeaways from the event, which we will share in separate posts, one of the most resounding messages revolved around the need for great content.

Speed of adoption among consumers will be determined by several factors, including device pricing, tech specs, and ease of use, but no matter how amazing the technology is (and it is impressive) content will drive consumption. The content must be relevant, interesting, and immersive for the user. Some design tips that were mentioned:

  • Give consumers an experience they can’t get at home and engage as many senses as possible.
  • Positional tracking and haptics, any form of interaction in VR involving touch, are game-changing technologies that should be considered.
  • Remember that light and color are emotive.
  • VR experiences should be scalable yet intimate and solitary yet social.
Of course, VR content will vary widely based on the industry it is trying to reach, but whether developing experiences for travel, healthcare, sports, advertising, education, architecture, gaming, etc., the content must reach the consumer to fulfill a need. When testing experiences, don’t listen to what users say. Instead, watch what they do. What are their facial expressions? Which objects do they gravitate toward? When do they start to disengage?

Content creators also must understand the differences in head-mounted displays (HMD), from smartphone-enabled HMDs, like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, to computer-enabled HMDs, such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and console-enable HMDs, like the Sony Playstation VR. Understanding the capabilities of each type of device is critical for content creators to develop experiences best suited for the consumer.

With the imminent launch of consumer devices, the buzz about virtual reality will continue to rise. The opportunities for those in VR development are immense and there’s an overall sense in the VR community that we are all part of something special, similar to working on the internet in 1994. As such, there's a feeling that it’s better for all involved if we don’t compete but help one another out to accelerate the success and adoption of VR. It was awesome to experience and an attitude we hope holds up as 2016 takes VR to the next level.

Special thanks to Jeremy Selan from Valve for his great slides featured above. 
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