Virtual Reality’s Turning Points In 2015


Among the most significant developments in VR this year have been the rate of change and improvement in mobile VR. Until recently, compelling VR experiences required a high-powered PC, considerable technical know-how, and were enjoyed only by enthusiasts and early adopters. Now there are mobile solutions that deliver a comparable level of quality, but are much easier to use and more affordable. This should make VR attractive and accessible to a much broader range of consumers. With the advent of VR-ready mobile devices, they are ready to join the next step in social communication.

One of the surprising things we found out in 2015 was how long people are willing to spend in VR. The typical VR session used to clock in at about two to five minutes. But in social VR, when people are engaged, especially with others, in interesting activities, they will spend much longer. For example, in AltspaceVR, users spend several hours playing Dungeons & Dragons, or get together to watch full-length movies. This opens the possibilities for larger and more sophisticated kinds of VR content and applications.

[Editor’s note: To tap the wisdom of our distinguished group of Xconomists and other innovators, we asked a few of them to answer a question heading into 2016: “What was the biggest advance or most surprising development of 2015?” You can see other questions and answers here.]

Eric Romo is CEO and Founder of Redwood City, CA-based AltspaceVR, a virtual reality software company that creates virtual meeting spaces where users can watch movies, play games, or share other experiences together. Follow @_Eric_Romo

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