The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) have announced the findings of a joint virtual reality (VR) research study of content creators in the Hollywood community that paint a picture for the future of the nascent technology.
The study, conducted through 16 in-depth interviews and presented during a panel session at CES 2016 (running in Las Vegas, through Saturday), reveals that participants are passionate about the new medium and think it is likely a game changer.
The study finds there are understandable hurdles that still need to be addressed, including: generating a sustainable model for content creation, establishing a clear pathway to monetization and determining the endurance cap for sustained viewing that will affect long-form storytelling.
“VR is the latest platform of immersive entertainment, with massive experimentation in content development last year,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, Consumer Technology Association.
“A definitive trend at CES 2016 this week, the VR ecosystem will continue to advance and expand in 2016.”
“The future of VR is dependent on quality content and, with this study we wanted to provide a more comprehensive look at Hollywood’s attitudes on the many opportunities and challenges this technology faces,” said NATPE president and CEO, Rod Perth.
“This study presents a snapshot of the types of genres that could be adapted to this dynamic technology but also offers a realistic picture of its limitations.”
Of those interviewed, the consensus is that potential obstacles remain to VR’s mass adoption, including the rate of headset purchases, the length of time users can comfortably use a headset, technical issues with filming the content, the availability of quality content and concerns of a solitary experience for the VR user.
Most agree that VR represents a new method of storytelling that offers an entirely new platform for consumers to experience entertainment and many other types of content.
Asked why VR is taking off now as a viable new medium, many respondents pointed to existence of the smartphone. Consumers now have VR in their pockets. Additionally, the number of video game consoles already in homes will be critical to driving VR beyond early adopters. Participants see this as a big year for the technology with high-end devices like HTC Vice, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR all being rolled out into the consumer market. The rate of adoption will guide how quickly the market will evolve.
CTA expects unit sales of VR headsets to increase by 500% from 2015, to reach 1.2 million units sold. Total revenues are projected to reach $540 million, a 440% increase. (Picture courtesy Oculus Rift)