Photo credit: TheDrum

Oculus Quest 2 has been receiving incredible reviews and ad support, and this might be a sign that virtual reality may eventually be taking its long-awaited succeeding step.

Marketers might just begin to see the world through rose-colored goggles?

The Oculus Quest 2 arrived the marketplace with a lower price ($299) and greater praise from reviewers and vocal social media fans.

Some experts said this is a vital first step for virtual reality (VR) – considering the fact that it had so-far failed to live up to expectations of both consumers and marketers.

This also happens to be an important opportunity for Facebook, which acquired Oculus for $2 billion, to play in a whole new arena.

Oculus Quest 2 is billed by Facebook as “our most advanced all-in-one VR system yet. No PC or console needed. Explore an expansive library of awe-inspiring games and immersive experiences with unparalleled freedom.”

Even with this current momentum, there are much challenges for Oculus as well as VR as a whole. The hindrances includes restricted user base, lack of high-profile game franchises and the past failures. “It is a double-edged sword,” says Morris Garrard, research analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “On the one hand you have Facebook investing heavily and pushing VR as the next mobile platform. So, it would be advisable to keep a keen eye on the development of the segment, while remaining wary that the gamble may not pay off.”

Facebook wasn’t timid about its ad-serving intentions. In a blog post it informs consumers, “Facebook will now use information about your Oculus activity, like which apps you use, to help provide these new social features and more relevant content, including ads.”

Garrard says, “it presents a significant opportunity for Facebook to gather user data as well as enabling them, to be a first mover on controlling what they see as potentially the next mobile platform.”

This gives Facebook the opportunity to push further into the streaming gaming space, although as a small player compared to Twitch or YouTube.

However, the openings for marketers in the VR space are likely limited and far between — for now. However, hope is high.

Steve Meyers, account director, gaming at TMA also recognizes “remote shopping as pretty viable in the near term as something that is stunty and PR-able.”

Brands can also develop genuine VR content that function as longform ads “think Mini’s ‘Backwater‘ VR short film from a few years ago,” says Meyers.

Another promising arena is VR esports. Beat Saber’s VR tournament in China saw 800,000 people tune in. “This tournament had small viewership, and this is definitely still niche, but creating esports events dedicated to VR is a start to bringing in eyeballs on the VR experience,” says Meyers.

The biggest hits for VR are restricted to Half-Life: Alyx, Beat Saber, and Star Wars: Squadrons. “Without killer content from big publishers like Epic, Activision, Nintendo, and others who create massive franchises, the adoption will continue to be slow,” says Meyers. “Until then, fan-made versions of games and limited on-the-rails experiences likely won’t steal people away from the dominant gaming platforms of PC, console and mobile.”

Jonathan Stringfield, vice-president, global business marketing, measurement and insights at Activision Blizzard Media says: “More recent VR tech is improving the quality of images, lowering price points, and lessening reliance on external hardware and cumbersome wires — as the experience becomes more seamless and on par with viewing a quality TV, consumer interest may soon follow.”

“This year in particular we’re seeing a number of important advancements. From improvements in VR to the latest Playstation and Xbox consoles, the technology for consumers to experience immersive gaming experiences has never been more attainable nor capable of producing high-quality experiences that fully leverage at home technology, all within the comfort of our own living rooms. This presents a multitude of exciting opportunities for marketers to interact with consumers when they are most leaned-in, within one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer entertainment ecosystems.” he added.

Patrons on Reddit are actually onboard with the advances in VR. After the Oculus Quest 2 entered stores and shipped on October 13, conversation on Reddit has remained strong. “There’s a couple different couple different angles here,” says Reddit’s head of creative strategy, Will Cady. “There are people staying home, having more free time. Then there’s the idea of VR soon being a more realistic way of connecting people over long distances. And then there‘s also all of the stats [around the rise of] gaming. It all represents a leap forward.”

Garrard however thinks that marketers should not get too hopeful. “VR has had lots of ‘moments’ in its short history, including the meteoric rise of mobile VR driven by Samsung’s GearVR, which have proven to be false dawns for the industry. VR has a history of overpromising and underdelivering, so whilst the launch of the Quest 2 has great potential, only time will tell whether this potential ever becomes fully realized.”


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