VR is undoubtedly the most talked about tech topic of the past year, with products from the likes of Oculus, HTC, and Sony launching to huge anticipation, and rumors of more in the pipeline from Microsoft, Apple and more. Perhaps no one is more qualified to speak to the VR frenzy than the CEO and Founder of JPW International, Jack Tong, the former President of HTC, whose Vive headset has taken PC gaming by storm.
For as much as VR has whet the appetite of consumers looking for fantastic experiences, profit has been somewhat elusive due to slow sales and expensive hardware. Tong took the stage at AWAsia Tuesday morning to discuss the current state of VR near its one-year anniversary of availability, as well as where it’s going and how it can finally enjoy profitability.
According to Tong, VR is still very much in its infancy and we’d do well to measure expectations while it grows. While the early adopter crowd has been incredibly enthusiastic, the most VR growth has been in lower cost, mobile device-supported headsets from Google and Samsung, rather than the more expensive Oculus and HTC devices. That will change, according to Tong, as higher end units with 4K displays and other innovations fill in the higher price points, while current hardware becomes more affordable to consumers.
The real growth though is in “arcade” experiences, not unlike the very forward-thinking modular systems Tong showed in his presentation. Asking the crowd to imagine something close to an interactive and immersive 3D Disneyland, Tong wowed the crowd with some amazing experiential hardware that could very well be available at an arcade or shopping mall near you very soon.
Tong says that the key to success and monetization in VR is to give consumers the absolute best in a public arcade setting – from motorcycle simulations where players climb onto a makeshift cycle, to virtual skiing where players strap into hardware powered skis. Giving the ultimate experience in VR by way of an arcade will ultimately lead to much higher VR adoption in the home, according to Tong, and soon we’ll be seeing VR nearly everywhere we shop, work, and play – just give it time.
Watch the full panel, “How to Monetize Virtual Reality” here.