VR needs more context and social capabilities to really engage users

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Virtual reality (VR) is a nascent technology that holds huge promise, but current VR experiences lack the context required for real engagement with the medium.

That’s the finding from a recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy Analytics that surveyed the needs, behaviors and expectations of future VR users.

The report, “UXS Technology Planning Report: Virtual Reality”, says that the VR market is poised for tremendous growth over the next several years, driven by the creation of compelling experiences that allow the user to experience, preview, and escape reality. Early adopters of VR are predominantly gamers who are driven to the medium by the promise of “being there”.

However, the biggest risks to the nascent VR market are the lack of context, the lack of social capabilities and the hard-wired headset restricting player movement, said Mathew Alton, Strategy Analytics research analyst and report author.

“There are a number of ways that VR can be made more compelling: design content from the ground-up for VR to make use of its immersive properties; contextualize VR experiences to provide real emotional engagement with the content; and ensure sensory engagement with VR content through the ability to touch, see, and hear what’s happening in virtual spaces,” he said.

Chris Schreiner, director of syndicated research at Strategy Analytics UXIP added, “Manufacturers need to act on the opportunity to provide a platform for people to share their own VR stories. VR is not entirely an isolated experience – the more sociable it is, the more attractive it is.”

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