IKEA making its first foray into virtual reality with this week’s launch of The IKEA VR Experience on the Steam game platform.
Aimed at those thinking of remodeling their kitchen, or who just enjoy home makeovers and playing around with VR, the app uses HTC’s Vive to create a full-size virtual kitchen within Steam, Valve’s “world-leading game platform.”
Users can interact with objects “just like you were there,” according to IKEA’s press release. “Find the drawers that can be opened. Pick up a frying pan and place it on the stove. Recycle the vegetable skins in the waste sorting station.”
Users also have the options to switch cabinet and drawer colors for three different kitchens and view it all from the perspective of a 3’3″ child or 6’4″ adult.
“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives,” stated Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group. “We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them.”
IKEA already offers customers 3D planning tools for designing kitchens, wardrobes and storage areas down to the millimeter, but this initial foray into VR is to solicit feedback from users for the company’s next steps.
“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world,” said Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications. “We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen.”
“Though gaming is at the heart of virtual reality, it is clear that the technology’s non-gaming potential applications are massive as well,” notes Gamespot. “Being able to virtually shop for IKEA furniture is just one example.”
IKEA expects users will spend about five minutes on the app, which will be available until the pilot test ends in August.
The Ikea VR kitchen concept was designed using the Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games, in collaboration with developers at French startup Allegorithmic. Take a closer look in the Chris Le game demo below: