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A Startup’s Vision of Combining Free Games and Paid Ads

Despite the fact that virtual reality is slowly becoming more prevalent in the gaming industry and in mainstream culture, it still remains an expensive option for most. In fact, free games for the virtual reality crowd is still not a common sight. At present, virtual reality games go for around $10 to $20. There is one company, however, that is looking to change the landscape.

Lucid Sight Inc. is planning to take the virtual reality gaming industry off the ground by introducing free games into the mix and finding an avenue by which they can profit off them. And now, they are encouraging other companies to join them in the endeavor.

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Virtual Reality Ad Campaign by Lucid Sight Inc.

The said startup company, which is based in Los Angeles, recently launched an innovative software that will enable VR developers to introduce ads into their apps. For a lot of free games, ads and the sales of optional features are two main channels by which they get revenue.

This move by Lucid Sight is said to be significant because the company’s founders Randy Saaf and Octavio Herrera saw the potential of this strategy around five years ago. It was at this time when their iPhone games startup started conceptualizing and developing ad software because there were no reliable ad options available at the time. They moved on from the gaming industry later on because the ad technology business experienced a great boom. They later on became Ad Colony and was sold to the tech company Opera Software for a massive $350 million in 2014.

But now, Saaf and Herrera are aiming to lead ad technology. While there are others like them who think that introducing ads into VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has potential, Saaf and Herrera are software makers who have the advantage of having their own apps. In other words, if we were to use a bit of startup lingo, they’d be engaging in “dogfooding.” This is a practice that entails utilizing one’s own technology.

In a statement, Herrera said that there is the intention to make their offering appealing especially to their rivals. He also addressed VR’s common issues, especially that of causing people to get motion sickness. “A bad VR ad can get someone sick. But you don’t really see the problem until you live it. By eating our own cooking, we’re figuring things out before messing up someone else’s game.”

Profits and Investments

If this turns into reality, Lucid Sight would not only benefit financially from the ads featured on its apps but they would also be entitled to a minimal share from the profit earned by ads on possibly thousands of other apps.

We’re big believers advertising will be key in virtual reality,” Saaf said additionally.

This particular strategy has managed to attract investors, such as Salem Partners and Rana Capital Partners, who together invested $3.5 million into the project. Saaf, Herrera, and their friends put in an initial investment of $500,000 to get the project off the ground.

At present Lucid Sight Inc. has launched a total of three games, including the infinite spaceship flying game, PolyRunner VR. In addition to these games, they are also planning to release appoximately 20 other games that are simpler in features this year. The games will run for less than 10 minutes, which is generally shorter than most VR games out in the market. They can be accessed across all VR services.

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According to the company’s estimate, approximately 30 percent of users watched the first ad, which turned out to be a trailer for the movie Allegiant, even though they were offered the option to skip it after 15 seconds. The video is typically displayed on a flat screen in 3D, but Lucid also allows for a more immersive platform that fully harnesses the 360-degree capabilities the medium offers to its users.

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Uncategorized VR Technology

The Current Investment Potential of the Virtual Reality Market

Rukkus, the popular ticket marketplace app, recently launched a new feature last month. The new feature is said to ensure that customers actually get the specific seat that they pay for. This innovation was developed as part of the company’s new mission to reorient its ticketing market that is said to bring in huge profits worth $30 billion. The Seat360 feature, as it is called, was developed by the company so that its users can make their purchases with the accuracy that virtual reality brings into the eCommerce platform.

The Investment Potential of Virtual Reality Market

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With Seat360, users can choose seats based on a firsthand virtual reality experience—that is, they get to experience what it’s like to be in the seat itself via gyroscope-driven panoramic 360-degree seat views. Google Cardboard is said to further supplement this, with other platforms including the Rukkus website displaying the same panoramic seat views except for the VR presentation. Android is also said to offer the Seat360 very soon.

At present, all the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) arenas as well as more than half of the Major League Baseball (MLB) arenas are said to have the Seat360 VR feature. It’s also steadily growing its presence in major concert venues and theaters as well as in the National Football League (NFL) stadiums.

Manick Bean, the CEO/CTO of Rukkus, made this statement when he was asked by the media where the company got the inspiration for the new features: “Seat360 started as a project after surveying our customers to see what was important to them when making a ticket-purchasing decision. Ninety percent said first-person seat views were very important to them, and 81% would prefer an interactive 360 panorama to a static 2D image to help choose their seat. From these surveys we learned that many customers are hesitant when buying tickets online because they aren’t confident in what their seat will be like. We sought to alleviate these concerns and be as transparent in the purchasing process as possible with Seat360.”

Users can find the latest version of the Rukkus app with the new Seat360 feature on the iOS app store, while the Google Playstore has the Android version. If you’re accessing from a desktop PC or a laptop, you can visit its website, www,rukkus.com.

With the introduction into the market of this new feature, can we now safely say that virtual reality is a worthwhile investment? In recent years, virtual reality has made leaps and bounds in terms of the achievements and progress it has made in several industries. In addition, it has proven its strong potential in the field of innovative technology for the future. With the steadily stronger buzz it has been getting in the press, it is often said that virtual reality will soon make its grand entrance into the mainstream markets.

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But experts are often in argument when it comes to the present viability of virtual reality: some of them see it as an industry with the extreme potential for growth in the near future; while there are others who consider it as the next technology bubble, and thus the need to take careful steps when investing in the said technology. Ultimately, though, it is certain that the next few years will reveal virtual reality’s potential to carve out a niche for itself in the consumer electronics market.

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Uncategorized VR News VR Technology

All About Google Virtual Reality and Content

Google is set to reveal its agenda for its virtual reality content at the Google IO manufacturer’s conference scheduled to be held this week at Mountain View, California. Based on some insider information and some select comments of some senior managers of the company, there was an impression that it is about to distance itself from the inexpensive Cardboard VR viewer. However, there is some apprehension about the possible new VR hardware, and it ignores an important element that was part of Google’s original scheme for virtual reality: content.

Google Virtual Reality and Content

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From Google Cardboard to Google VR

Google publicly launched its Cardboard VR viewer at its IO manufacturer conference in 2014. The viewer, which was made out of cardboard and featured a set of plastic lenses, seemed makeshift, which made people think it was a joke. However, Google confirmed that it has serious plans for the new medium.

The company immediately made an arrangement with the New York Times for the widespread distribution of Cardboard viewers. Since then, it has set in place a devoted Google virtual reality team led by expert managers. However, those same managers have revealed a long time ago some strategies that would go beyond the area focused on by Cardboard. Additionally, a series of recent revelations implied that there is a chance to finally discover this week what has been in the making.

Just as recently as a few days ago, a placeholder for a certain “Android VR” popped up on the Google Play developer console. The latter is said to be a managerial backend for publishers, and it enables to them make crucial decisions about which platforms and devices to release access to with regard to their apps.

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Some insiders in the industry believe that the Android VR will be a unique device—a standalone headset that one would be able to use without a smartphone. It’s also quite possible that it stands for a new kind of device, which could consist of both Gear VR-like mixtures of VR-optimized headsets and phones and standalone headsets.

But there is another angle to Google’s VR strategies, one that has not been discussed much, even though it is just as significant. The company itself has exerted a lot of effort, for instance, in transforming YouTube into a virtual reality platform. At present, YouTube does not only have a 360-degree feature and content; its mobile app is also adaptable to the Cardboard viewer, giving its users the chance to switch between regular viewing and virtual reality with just the click of a button. YouTube recently added this feature to its iOS app just this week.

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Google has also been involved in a cloud-based editing and processing platform that allows publishers to upload raw content from more than one camera at a time and enables them to merge the different content into one virtual reality video on Google’s servers. The platform is called JUMP, and it was conceptualized and developed with Google’s own JUMP VR camera rig. With that said, there seems to be no reason why Google would not allow it to exist on other camera systems as well. By default, JUMP immediately uploads content to YouTube without any kind of human intervention, which ensures that the streaming service consistently receives fresh content on a stable platform.

Highlight Stories and VR Stories

Finally, YouTube has also started experimenting with some of the equipment needed to host virtual reality content and transformed its content into more than just the usual 360-degree videos commonly seen nowadays. Just recently, the site began hosting its own Highlight Stories, which enable its users to make the most of 360-degree mobile storytelling without having to leave the YouTube platform itself.

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Uncategorized VR Technology

The Advantages of a Growing Virtual Reality Market

The shipments of virtual reality hardware globally were expected to show a massive gain in 2016, according to a report by IDC, an analyst firm. IDC also predicted that the tremendous expansion of the virtual reality market will give all sorts of advantages to a massive ecosystem.

The Growing Virtual Reality Market: What Are Its Advantages?

In recent years, virtual reality has dominated the trends in many fields and industries and has been the topic of discussion in various events such as government and consumer entertainment meetings as well as gaming and technology events. As a result, it has rejuvenated the business applications and the consumer IT markets. (more…)

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VR Technology

Virtual Reality Projected to Assist in Live Crime Scene Rendering

VR to Help Render Crime Scenes

Recently, a lot of buzz has emerged around virtual reality and the VR industry having penetrated the world of gaming and even live musical concerts. There is even talk about it being used for good in treating certain medical and mental health conditions. At present, the talk is about VR invading the criminal justice system. If all goes well, the technology can bring about groundbreaking results in solving past unsolved crimes and ensuring fewer future ones—all thanks to better live crime scene rendering via VR.

Live Crime Scene Rendering Through Virtual Reality

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Research Efforts

Researchers at Staffordshire University in England recently announced that they are presently at work on a project that aimed to apply the idea of virtual reality into the solving of crimes. After they received approximately $200,000 in research grants from the European Commission, they went to work harnessing the power of VR technology in developing new, better ways to render evidence from crime scenes for the benefit of jurors, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges so they can properly analyze the evidence and make well-informed decisions and judgments.

Professor Caroline Sturdy Stolls of the Staffordshire University of England who also serves as the program’s lead scientist has said in a statement to the media, “A number of novel, digital non-invasive methods have the potential to…permit access to difficult and/or dangerous environments, create a more accurate record of buried or concealed evidence and provide a more effective means of presenting evidence in court.”

Among many techniques tested to determine how the technology would best benefit the purpose, VR motion headsets previously created by the gaming industry were one of the applied methods. The research team has also said that they were combining their resources with the gaming industry’s own in order to guarantee at least decently positive results.

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In an interview with the BBC, the Staffordshire Police Department’s head of justice has shown his department’s support behind the innovative project, asserting that the technology could be the exact push they needed to “bring to life” complicated crime scenes that could be impossible or difficult to do in real life.

However, like other similar projects, the research has been met with plenty of skepticism. One particular critic is Jason Host, a barrister associated with Steven Solicitors. While being interviewed by the BBC, Host said of the program, “We don’t have a very good track record with bringing technology into courtrooms.”

He was referring to a previous instance when virtual reality had been attempted ten years ago as a method of presenting courtroom evidence. The attempt was due to research carried out by William and Maar Law School’s Center for Legal and Court Technology. Professor Fredrick I. Lederer, the director of the center, revealed back then that there’s a nausea potential for the said technology, saying that “I wouldn’t want to lose a quarter of my jury because they’re not trying to throw up.”

It still remains to be seen whether the researchers will succeed in their efforts, but it cannot be denied that we have only just skimmed the surface of its potential when it comes to real-life applications.

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VR News VR Technology

The Combined Power of Digital Marketing Strategy and Virtual Reality Experiences

Nowadays, if you were to ask people if they knew what Nintendo was, you would highly likely get numerous “yes” answers. Even the most tech-hostile Luddite would know what it is—that’s how prevalent the company’s digital marketing strategy has been. Their success in the electronic entertainment field has made them a powerful force in the video gaming industry and a household name all over the world.

However, back in 1995, the unbeatable giant took a great gamble on the “Virtual Boy,” the world’s first-ever commercial virtual reality rig. Due to a number of problematic elements, such as a headache-inducing display, a monochromatic presentation, and a rushed production, the company experienced its first failure. What was once promoted as the gaming industry’s future ended being a dismal failure when it got canceled within its first year of distribution.

Merging of Digital Marketing and Virtual Reality Experiences

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Twenty years later, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are resuscitating every Neuromancer-based daydream that the 90s had started but failed to finish. As early as now, many big-name brands have shown interest in the fresh technology, one of them being the social media giant Facebook, which had bought Oculus for $2 billion back in 2014.

Right now, the wave in the digital world seems to be toward VR tech, and while it may still take some time before the technology becomes a common presence in homes all over the world, its effect on marketing is already strongly felt. All that said, what trends should the marketing world expect, and what potential do these innovative headsets promise in the next decade or so?

The Art of Motion

Two factors allow virtual reality to be an immersive technology that exceeds anything available today, except for reality, of course. The first factor is “blinding” feature of the headsets, which restricts the user’s view to only what’s directly in front of their line of sight. The second factor is the motion-based intake that VR banks depend on. In the said intake, users can freely look and move around a certain confined space and communicate with what’s around them by “holding” objects with handheld wands. With this, a basic drift has become possible, which had never before been possible in digital space.

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With regard to presenting ads to people, virtual reality makes the collection of motion data greatly possible, making it virtually easier for data-driven marketers to analyze the engagement level of their advertisements. As it is, it seems that Facebook has started using Oculus to collect their users’ data, in terms of their movement and behavior.

Creating a VR Experience

Although product placement doesn’t necessarily require a lot of evolvement, the creation of an entire venture for users does; meanwhile, user-generated content demands a strong user base that just isn’t in existence yet. Despite this being the case, some brands have still decided to give VR a chance.

For instance, Wells Fargo has started offering their customers a chance to try VR at choice branches in San Francisco. There were no unique ads to view or new products to be aware of or buy—it was just a platform where their customer base could try something that has gotten a lot of buzz lately. In a statement to the media, the company said, “The primary purpose is branding and getting Wells Fargo out there in a new and different and fun way.” Although the approach may be a bit crude, it’s exactly what this kind of usage allows.

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The top question on everyone’s minds is: “Does VR need to be an essential part of a company’s digital marketing scheme?” The answer to that is a definite no. And it wouldn’t be anytime soon either, but there still remains a lot of time for brands to think about how they want to take advantage of the technology.

But brands should take a lesson or two from the failure of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. Although the technology itself is exciting, the actual implementation might be driving people away or making the process really troublesome. Should that happen, then your brands are not going to make it big, despite your intentions. A good advice these brands would be wise to follow is to make something they themselves would want to be engaged by. Who knows where virtual reality could take us next?

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