On hearing the term ‘Virtual Reality’, most of us are bound to have differing reactions. Generation Z, commonly thought of as those 25 and under,are likely to be familiar with virtual reality and most have probably already experienced, or engage regularly with, it in one way or another.
Age definitions for generations can be tricky and ever-changing, but most importantly and entirely unique to Generation Z is that they are the first generation to have grown up with a ubiquitous, always-there internet. Many in this demographic will struggle to think of a life without constant online access.
Millenials, those otherwise thought of as early 20s to mid-30s (or more generally, to have grown up around the turn of the millennium) might possess a broader approach to technology, recognising its importance but equally remembering a world before the internet dominated our lives. Most millenials will be familiar with VR and what it is, and many still will have experienced it once or twice and might possess the household technology to bring it alive.
There’s a growing concern that other generations are unaware of virtual reality or may be shying away from it. However, Generation X, Baby Boomers; whatever you may want to think of the 34+ generation, there’s little reason to assume that they aren’t engaging with virtual reality or recognising its potential in the same way as younger generations
The tech’s everywhere – you might already have it
In recent years VR has slowly become synonymous with certain brand names. Most of these are dominant in the gaming sector, such as the HTC Vive, and others seek a broader approach to tech, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift. However, it’s crucial to recognise that VR exists far beyond these primary hardware providers.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all now offer integrated support for 360 video, so that any video of these specs uploaded can be viewed on any device that can access the platforms. That means your common laptops, desktops and smartphones. A the top-end of the VR tech world, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets currently run for many hundreds of pounds. Windows has made its own foray into the world of VR with its own brand of ‘Mixed Reality’ headset, running at a much cheaper £200-£300, due for release this year.
At CES2018, Google announced a collaboration headset with Lenovo, the Mirage Solo. This is due to be the world's first standalone headset, and by not requiring a companion PC or smartphone, is bound to open the doors of VR accessibility further.
However, devices such as Google Cardboard, a cheap alternative to the brand-name headsets, seek to transform smartphones to into a VR-ready experience. Even Cardboard is among the top brand for these sorts of smartphone-transformation kits; many electronics shops can supply similar kits for £5 or less.
Not just gaming
Those of the younger generations are far more likely to associate VR with gaming, and have likely had a first experience with it through this medium. And while gaming is certainly not confined to these youthful demographics, it may be off-putting for older generations who similarly associate virtual reality with gaming worlds and environments.
The truth is that the software and platforms for VR are already massively varied. Aside from video support on social media, the availability of new cameras and filming techniques means that 360 video is everywhere. It’s already changing the travel industry, the housing markets, tourism, and marketing potential for brands and businesses alike.
What this means for the layman is that searching for a holiday destination, a new home, a hotel to stay, a new gym to join, etc., is now a virtual experience. Customers no longer have to settle for dated, static images available online, but can experience the atmosphere and environment of a place from the comfort of their own home with some cheap and cheerful tech.
3xplor makes searching for property, places and things to do an adventure with 360° tours, video and virtual reality.
Showcase your 360 videos to attract new business and visitors.Explore