September 1, 2020
This year the virtual reality market is estimated at $ 6.1 billion and is expected to reach whopping $ 20.9 billion by 2025.
While many social platforms have taken notice of the trend, Facebook has established itself as one of the leading providers of building technology in space, including VR headsets, and has led the virtual social reality trend. The company made a splash when it launched Oculus in 2014 and has since expanded that growth by releasing a variety of headshots, including the Oculus Rift and the standalone Oculus Quest set.
During OC6 in September 2019, Facebook introduced Facebook Horizon – a "social experience where you can explore, play and create in an extraordinary way". Users were invited to join a beta group until the platform recently decided to speed up the process where people on the waiting list actually test the experience.
Promote gameplay and world building
At a time when “zoom fatigue” is a common saying and zoom calls and drive-by birthday parties are the norm, people crave a new kind of social interaction – one that is not passive but active in the ability to feel immersed and collaborate with others through representation, play and world building.
One of the many features of Horizon is the ability to play games like mini golf, escape rooms, and paintball. Another notable focus is on building the world. What does this mean for brands and marketers? A new way to interact with and involve the audience. For example, you would have the opportunity to create a world where consumers could partake in a scavenger hunt that leads them to discount codes for free items. In general, they might have the option to run ads right in Horizon and use the fans' avatars as extras. This gives them firsthand insight and a direct involvement in the product they would buy.
Leverage the growing role of social VR
Since the pandemic has shaped society primarily through how we socialize, the importance of social VR apps like Horizon for people looking for a single place to hang out with friends and get creative was still around never so current or important. For some context – a new Statista survey showed that almost 30 percent (29.7) by US social media users engaged in social media apps 1 to 2 additional hours per day during quarantine. Regardless, eMarketer recently noted this 51 percent of adults in the US are using social media more often due to the pandemic.
“Imagine a place where a brand can invite their brand ambassadors to try a product without getting on a plane? A place where a brand can post a press release without writing a press release but actually be there and share the news with a community of journalists in social VR. There are so many options for brands and content creators. I can't wait to see what happens next, ”said the early Beta Horizon content creator and social media advisor. Navah Mountain in a statement to Forbes.
Priority for security and privacy
The convergence of the virtual and physical worlds brings with it a number of ways we connect and collaborate, but it also carries risks that Facebook has to manage, especially when it comes to privacy and security.
Facebook is taking steps to mitigate these issues by creating a personal “safe zone” where Horizon users can mute, block, or report people and content around them. “We know that it is difficult to record a painful incident in the process, so your Oculus headset is continuously tracking the last few minutes of your experience in Horizon. When you file a report, you can use this recorded information as evidence of what happened "Explained Facebook.
Regardless of your stance on VR and its use cases, developments like this should be viewed from the perspective that the future of communication is undoubtedly heading in this direction. We are approaching a tipping point where technology continues to just push the boundaries of social media marketing and redefine the words "communication" and "presence".
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