Techradar Pro: Is a lack of standards in an industry that is brand new an issue for the business use of VR platforms?
Mark Curtis: "Yes, for sure and will be for a while. It did not hold back smartphones though, and we still have at least two (some would say three) competing standards. We have some distance to go before it becomes a serious issue, and winners will emerge."
Bertie Millis: "Within the VR industry, rules are being established as we go on. In many ways, VR is self-regulating. Unlike a normal game or film, creating the wrong sort of experience in VR can make users feel ill. Developers now understand what causes this and will aim to avoid it. If you make your users ill, nobody will use your experience or game."
Chris Savage: "The phones and computers that power all of the VR headsets are evolutions of what we are already using. They also all need compelling content to get consumers to use them. For this reason, the VR platforms are backwards compatible with current video technologies. For example, Oculus was able to get the Netflix app for the Oculus Gear working in about a week. That's pretty amazing because you can now watch every Netflix show and movie in an Oculus in 3D on a giant screen!"
Amelia Kallman: "I'd say it is not an issue, it is an opportunity. Like the early stages of any enterprise, boundaries will be pushed and tested, some things will fail and others will prosper, but this period of mass research and development around VR can only benefit end-users. Regulators will catch up eventually and start designing rules around how we have fun, communicate and do business using VR, so I say get in there and be a part of developing history in real-time."
Luke Ritchie: "Absolutely. Any kind of standards will take time. However, for me, now is the exciting part. The hardware has allowed us to create content – now though the content will drive the hardware. So we're all working on defining how to tell stories in this new platform and this work will shape how the hardware develops and the patterns of success will set certain standards in this area."
Joss Davidge: "The likes of Oculus, Samsung, Sony and other big names are all developing their own VR products, the majority of which are not compatible with one another. This is of course problematic. However, on the flipside, the competitive nature of the VR industry is also yielding big benefits, especially when it comes to the pricing of hardware."
Techradar Pro: Can you point to a business sector other than gaming where you think VR will have the most profound impact?
Dean Johnson: "VR will be huge for education. I know we all had high hopes for apps in this sector but that didn't quite go to plan because publishers weren't willing (or able) to deliver a consistently high standard with the money available. VR is different. Production costs can be lower for short VR film pieces, dropping the audience into incredible environments and learning from the inside. Devices are also cheaper when the audience can literally use a piece of cardboard!"
Mark Curtis: "Health, travel and media. All of these have clear use cases already for VR. These range from virtual/distant medical procedures, to holiday trip trials (or full-on experiences) to three-dimensional journalism. Probably no-one has yet imagined the major winner. Back in 1995, very few predicted social at the dawn of the web – remember 'content is king'? Turned out that connectivity was the rather powerful queen that sat alongside."
Chris Savage: "VR will have a profound effect on industries that are selling high priced items that usually need to be seen in person to be purchased. VR helps people feel present and evaluate a space or experience in a way that was only possible in person before. One of the industries which will see this happen very quickly will be real estate."
Amelia Kallman: "In retail you can imagine you can have all designer fashions available at your fingertips, so you can instantly compare a £300 leather jacket by Stella McCartney to one by Burberry, try it on your avatar, see it in 360 degrees and make instant purchases, all while 'shopping' with your friend who lives in China. The music industry can sell tickets for concerts, so if you feel like seeing Prince tonight, and he's playing Berlin, you'll be able to purchase a ticket and stay at home in bed while feeling like you are really there at a live Prince show.
"The collaboration aspect will be applicable across industries, and might be the biggest game changing innovation we can expect in the near future. Within law enforcement it can be used to recreate crime scenes, auto industries can give people virtual test drives… the possibilities are endless."
Alasdair Lennox: "Consider home decoration: it's one thing to see a shade of colour on the paint tin, or even on someone else's wall, but what if you could walk around a kitchen furnished with every last item on your shopping list, and switch colour schemes until you found the one you liked best? I call it the 'penny drop moment' – the instant of understanding a concept completely, and buying into the idea as a result."
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