It seems like almost every Virtual Reality (VR) article I see promoted on Social Media has to do with “failure”. A failure in sales, more specifically. I understand the motivation behind wanting to meet sales projections during the first “Holiday Season” in this new business category, but I think that’s the wrong focus for now and for the future. Instead of being discouraged over inaccurate sales projections we should actually be encouraged by newer smartphones with increasing capabilities to render better and better VR and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. The future of VR is not dependent upon today’s expensive hardware and it doesn’t matter if today’s big companies are successful at selling the highest end VR hardware.
DON’T FORGET THIS: People are used to their smartphones. They may not be cool with the newest home appliance that folds laundry, but you know what they are cool with? Using their phones to experience new technologies. Your 70 year old father-in-law is down to hop into a strangers car because he can use his PHONE for Uber. Don’t underestimate the power of the phone. Wait until someone creates a case that conveniently turns your phone into a head-mounted display. I’m talking about something game-changingly easy and quick that doesn’t make it hard to keep it in your pocket. Aha! The trend to thinner and thinner phones could be used for a bigger evolutionary purpose. Make us a case that fits in our pockets and lets us pop our phones on like a pair of goggles with little to no time/effort and we’ll show you millions upon millions of new VR enthusiasts. I’m not sure why we’re still waiting for this. Would we already be seeing something like it if Steve Jobs were still around? I think so.
And what else is the VR community missing in a Post Steve Jobs era? Maybe the way his approval of a technology was generally met with more and more public acceptance and further adoption. People trusted that if he put his stamp on something it was going to work. We could have faith that it wasn’t just a fad – or worse, a glitchy fad. How fun would it be to see Jobs on stage introducing virtual reality to the mainstream? I can see it in my head.
So if we had Steve Jobs right now maybe we would see him onstage unveiling an iPhone that could transform into VR goggles, but what would be that last piece to his approach – the one that would propel this next level technology into the mainstream? Content. Jobs pushed for and inspired game-changing CONTENT. If you look back at the REAL PRODUCT Jobs was pushing, it was always content. There will be some amazing virtual reality experiences that push VR into the mainstream, but in my opinion, they will probably be on a phone, not a Vive or a Rift. And we would have seen this happen faster with Jobs around. Think about Pixar. Most everyone would agree Pixar was all about great content. Even think about the first PC. Wasn’t it really all about the content you could create or experience with and on this new device? Think about the iPod and the music you could listen to so conveniently. Content. Think about the iPhone, iTunes, the App Store. Content, content, content. As Jobs would have said, “Think different”. Think content. And please don’t waste time worrying about sales projections and Chicken Little articles. Stop for a second and just imagine something. For 30 seconds or a minute sit quietly, close your eyes, and picture yourself watching one of the classic Disney movies from within the artist’s world – inside a VR headset. Can you honestly picture watching stories unfold inside the artist’s world and not believe that’s the future? We are going to get there sooner than most people think and it could be YOU who takes us there. Creators create!