OK friends, I'm going to share my frustration with you as I sit on a plane back from the DEW Expo in Los Angeles, which by the way, was a first-class event. Very well done. It was called the Digital Entertainment World Expo and it covered VR/AR with one session, which we attended. The people at the event were a great group of incredibly knowledgeable people within the industry and it was great to be there. The VR/AR session had a huge crowd and was very informative, but all they talked about was the future. So, of course, I had to try to get in a question about cardboard viewers (and get in a nice plug for UC). I told the audience that everyone talks about the high-end HMD's (head mounted devices) and location-based VR experiences, but nobody even has an HMD (OK, not nobody, but practically nobody) and location-based doesn't get a lot of people through the experience at once. After I got off my soapbox, I simply asked the question, "Why do you think cardboard hasn't been adopted yet"? I waited with great anticipation for the answer that would help us explode in the marketplace and after the first 2 people on the panel didn't even answer my question, Christina Heller from VR Playhouse, was kind enough to answer and say that she really liked cardboard, but it doesn't fit into fully immersive content. She is 100% correct. cardboard headsets are not for fully immersive content that you can see on the Vive and Oculus, but what's wrong with that?
We spent 2 days at this event and gave away hundreds of free headsets to people in the industry who understand what VR is all about. 80% of the people that came by our booth who had experienced VR in the Oculus and Vive, DIDN'T EVEN KNOW that you can watch VR on YouTube. Let me repeat that so it can really sink-on on people reading this, 80% of people that came to our booth didn't know they could view VR on YouTube with cardboard headsets. OK, so you're wondering what they thought, I know you are. BLOWN AWAY. VR jaw all over the place (a term for when people first see VR and their jaw hits the floor). It doesn't really "hit the floor" in case you thought we had hundreds of broken jaws at our booth, but you get the idea. So, if people "in the know" about VR don't know that YouTube has tens of thousands of great VR videos, how will the general public know?
Cardboard is treated like the ugly stepchild and that's just not fair. Everyone talks about the future of VR, but let me just say that "It's time to make the old, new again". Google Cardboard came out in 2014 and the NY Times made a huge impact by sending out over 1 million headsets to experience great content, but 1 million doesn't cover that much of the world. Actually, let me do the math for you, it covers 1 million people, but if they share it with a 2 friends and so on and so on, you never know, right? Sorry about the tangent, but that's how it goes with me. So I say, let's bring back cardboard and get it out to the masses.
I need to quickly jump back on my soapbox to share an article that I read today by someone named Kristian Bouw entitled "The Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started in Virtual Reality: A curated collection of virtual reality links and resources" I'm thinking, finally someone that's going to discuss cardboard headsets and tell them it is the way to get started in VR and I read through the article and the only mention of viewers is Google Daydream and the Samsung GearVR. Fine headsets by the way, but they cost over $75. Who is going to spend $75 to "get started" in VR? Not me, that's for sure. OK, I'm done with the soapbox (for this post anyway).
I need your help people, please share this blog, let's get people to understand how much great content is out there and show them how easy it is to access. All you need is a cardboard headset, which you can purchase for under $8.00 at www.unofficialcardboard.com and a YouTube app (which is free). Spread the word! Friends, Romans, country people (that's PC for 2018), lend me your ears. You don't have to be Roman either, anyone can participate. The first 100 people that share this blog with #bringbackvrcardboard will receive a free pair of viewers.
That's all for today because the plane is about to land and I'm spent!
Thanks for listening.
Chief Marketing Officer at Unofficial Cardboard