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Consumers are excited by VR

News, 05 May 2016

LOS ANGELES: Deeper entertainment experiences and virtual travel are among the things US consumers are eagerly anticipating when virtual reality (VR) becomes mainstream, new research has shown.

An online survey conducted among 1,000 adults for the Advanced Imaging Society, an organisation of Hollywood studio and entertainment professionals, found that seven in ten (69%) adults between the ages of 18 and 60 were excited about experiencing VR.

Unsurprisingly, enthusiasm was highest among younger men and gamers, but it was by no means restricted to these groups.

Overall, 73% of men and 65% of women were looking forward to coming VR experiences. Interest was greatest among 18-29 year-olds, at 72%, but 30-44 year olds were close behind, on 70%, and while that shown by 45-60 year olds was below the average, at 62% it strengthened a sense that VR is for everyone.

The study highlighted several factors contributing to the excitement, including an ability to "explore places" they can't travel to (74%), and an ability to "experience entertainment more deeply" (68%).

"These interests reinforce both the breadth of consumer appeal and the breadth of benefits associated with VR," said Steve Seidmon, of Seidmon Associates which conducted the survey.

Jim Chabin, President of the Advanced Imaging Society, described the findings as "remarkable" for a new entertainment medium.

"Significantly, fully two-thirds of respondents reported that they are 'more excited' about VR than they were about either HDTV or 3D in their earliest days," he reported.

Among respondents who had already experienced VR, enthusiasm climbed even higher, with 88% excited about the technology's benefits. And among gamers, 75% were excited about feeling "like I have super power capability."

But the research also indicated some potential obstacles to VR uptake, as two thirds of those who had experience of it thought the equipment was too expensive while half felt the headsets were too bulky.

One possible way of bringing VR to a wider audience emerged in the finding that seven in ten respondents would be excited to experience VR in a "nearby movie theatre lobby".

Data sourced from Advanced Imaging Society; additional content by Warc staff