Companies ranging from Netflix to Meta are dueling for the “retail entertainment” VR crown, and the fight shows no signs of dying down.
The push towards a physical presence in retail space has been seen in several “retail entertainment” projects, such as pop-up attractions in high foot traffic locations.
This is best illustrated by Netflix’s “Army of the Dead: Viva Vengeance” virtual reality attraction which toured several Westfield malls internationally. But having a commercial space to promote and sell immersive technology has been a difficult balancing act.
Most recently, Meta threw its hat into the ring, launching its first Meta store in Burlingame, California, promoting its online portal device, AR goggles and VR headset on shelves, along with an LED display virtual reality demo area.
The company claims that its first Meta store will be used for experimentation and learning for the release of future iterations.
This marks the most recent attempt at an Oculus/Meta retail presence, since the ill-conceived “Oculus Rift Demo Stations” at Best Buy in 2016, which was forced to close due to poor performance. Or the short-lived Oculus Rift-S demo stations at Microsoft Stores.
the parade continues
Meta will join the illustrious lineup of other consumer VR manufacturers that have set up VR demo areas in their stores, such as Google and Microsoft, until close only.
It seems that the current management of Meta has not learned from its predecessors, nor has it worked with location-based entertainment, the only industry facing the public with virtual reality hardware, and it is too difficult a pill to swallow.
At the same time, other hard lessons were being learned, as insider sources suggested a significant slowdown in sales, even returns, of its Quest2 VR platform.
Meta’s Reality Labs lost $2.96 billion on revenue of $695 million during the first quarter of 2022. Pressure is mounting on the embattled founder as he bets it all on his dream of a walled garden surrounding the metaverse.
goal calls for time
Meanwhile, Meta warned investors in a statement that they now feel it won’t “bloom” until 2030, when they see real growth in their plans – the date has changed from previous speculation of 2024. The question now will be whether investors they will allow them to continue to spend heavily on this dream as the promises continue to slip in.
The company also recently announced plans to partner with ILMxLAB to present the “Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” experience at Disney Springs Resort. This will include a demo arena with Meta Quest 2 headsets available for guests to reserve to try out their Jedi skills in the virtual gaming experience.
ILMxLAB, a subsidiary of LucasFilms, a developer of VR gaming experiences, previously engaged with Oculus (renamed Meta) with “Lightsaber Dojo,” a similar pop-up VR arena, developed in partnership with Nomadic VR during 2019. implemented six arenas for a short time at Cinemark Theaters and Simon Centers in the US and Canada.
So the parade continues
Meta is not alone in the search for VRspace. The virtual reality platform, Pico, is also doubling down.
Owned by ByteDance, which also owns the social media platform TikTok, Pico plans to launch its Pico Neo 3 Link in the West with a European Union launch of a limited number of units to test the waters before launching its standalone headset. next generation virtual reality later in the year.
Pico is in a position to sell in Europe, while other corporations have found it difficult. This move is still only a tentative development towards a full market launch.
Chinese VR headset developer DPVR, formerly known as Deepoon, recently revealed plans to launch its standalone VR headset “DPVR E4 Pegasus” in direct competition with Quest 2.
Around the same time, the first images of Apple’s entry into the VR/MR scene, with its “Apple View” headset, were leaked to the media.
Global politics is also affecting the creation of virtual reality content.
Several Russian LBE VR hardware developers have been silenced due to the ongoing conflict and subsequent international sanctions.
Arcadia-VR, a virtual reality game development house for LBE and consumer platforms, announced on social media that it will close its Moscow locations due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Retailtainment VR has become something of a high-stakes “holy grail” for entertainment content creators, and a winner has yet to be named.
(Editor’s note: Excerpts from this blog are from recent coverage in The Stinger Report, published by Spider Entertainment and its director, Kevin Williams, the leading interactive out-of-home entertainment news service covering the immersive frontier and beyond.) ).