CES 2015: Branded Experiences Make Virtual Reality More Real for Consumers

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The world can be a cold and dangerous place sometimes, which makes virtual reality extremely inviting to those looking for an escape. 

CES 2015 in Las Vegas this week has already seen a number of new VR products launch. Clearly, VR and augmented reality are shedding their geeky image and will soon be as normal as using GPS in your car. 

As Oculus VR founder Palmer Lucky observed at the show, “If I can share a family gathering with all those people who couldn’t make it—that’s a powerful thing.”[more]

The VR market is projected to be worth $5.2 billion by 2018, largely because VR and augmented reality are expanding from video games to more everyday applications, such as shopping on Amazon.

That’s why brands are bringing VR products to CES that aren’t just concepts but actually launching.

HP’s Zvr holographic monitor,  launching this spring, lets users see 3D images with the ability to “rotate, manipulate, or navigate them,” VentureBeat reports.

Oculus is showing a new VR headset, the Rift Crescent Bay, at CES. It has also been letting attendees see the new VR content it has on hand for the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, Geeky-Gadgets.com reports.

Samsung filled folks in on its Oculus partnership at its press conference and noted that its Milk music service, which began including videos last year, will allow Gear VR users to see videos and hear music this year.

The hope, according to VentureBeat, is that this will help the product become more mainstream. Something else that could help is that the NFL is planning to “to release game footage and behind-the-scenes football stuff specifically optimized for virtual reality viewing on Gear VR.” 

Since virtual reality is on the upswing, gaming company Razer and VR company Sensics are leading the charge on open source VR standards, The Verge reports. This would help bring VR to “multiple game engines, head-mounted displays, and control schemes.” The partnership is releasing a Hacker Dev Kit with its head-mounted display this summer.  

Hollywood, naturally, is interested in more immersive, game-like and interactive forms of entertainment, especially as box office sales continue to sag.

Fox Searchlight is at CES with the three-minute “Wild—The Experience” VR demo at CES, inserting viewers in a scene from the movie Wild featuring Reese Witherspoon. (And not to be confused with British Columbia’s “The Wild Within” VR travel promo.)

A just-announced partnership that seems destined for VR work is between Intel and Oakley. The pair showed off the winner of last year’s “Make It Wearable” contest, which is a camera that fits on a person’s wrist like a bracelet and has the ability to take flight and take a picture of the person. Who needs selfies? 

Intel is at CES with other partners such as Altspace VR, a social virtual reality company that is demonstrating “the world’s first immersive social VR platform that gives people the ability to experience anything on the internet, with anyone, through virtual reality,” Marketwatch reports

The world might still have a lot of catching up to get to The Jetsons, but we’re getting closer every CES.

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