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The Oculus Rift is a wearable headset that takes users into the realm of virtual reality. The device is marketed at gamers as well as those who seek to use the device to consume immersive media, visit global destinations, and socialise with friends (Oculus, 2016). The concept of virtual reality has been the subject of research for many years (Biocca, Kim, & Levy, 2013). The Oculus Rift’s recent introduction to the market can be attributed to improvements in technology and Oculus’ acquisition by Facebook (Dooris, 2016).

The prevailing view on the Oculus Rift is that it represents the coming of age of virtual reality devices. Devices like the Samsung VR Gear and the Google Cardboard have been cheaper implementations of virtual reality that have allowed the mass market to get a taste of the power of virtual reality. In the case of the Samsung Gear, the device relies on Samsung smartphones showing that it is not a full implementation of virtual reality (Cassidy, 2015). The Oculus Rift, on the other hand, is viewed to offer a more immersive experience to users who can afford its higher price of at least $600US (Casterson, 2016). The wearable headset connects to high-end CPU’s and is bundled with software that allows users to access games and apps that have been developed for a three-dimensional world (Casterson, 2016).

It is evident that the Oculus Rift is a game-changer, but the device will need to overcome a few challenges to realise its full potential. First, the wearable headset will have to deal with competition from other products owing to the maturing virtual reality technology. Examples include Sony’s PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive which also launch in 2016 (Dooris, 2016). In addition to the competition, the manufacturers will have to address the problem of users experiencing motion sickness and nausea (Cassidy, 2015). Furthermore, the device relies on messy physical cables to connect with the powerful computers that power the games and apps. Another challenge is the cost of the device that is viewed to be prohibitive for a first-generation device that is still maturing (Casterson, 2016). In summary, the prevailing view on the Oculus Rift is that it represents the coming of age of wearable virtual reality headsets. However, the device needs to resolve a few challenge to attain its full potential.

When it comes to advertising, the Oculus Rift offers enormous potential. First, Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus means that it will be part of Facebook’s advertising service. According to Curtis (2016), the Oculus Rift collects information like the location of a user and their movements. This information can be sent to third-party firms with a view to sending targeted ads that are engaging and immersive. According to Dooris (2016), some of the 360-degree videos that are found on YouTube are an indication that brands are preparing to leverage the capabilities of devices like the Oculus Rift for advertising. Cassidy (2015), also notes that the New York Times has developed a virtual reality app that broadcasts immersive news events from around the world as well as showing ads. As stated, the Oculus Rift can be used to take users on a tour of distant destinations (Oculus, 2016). This is a capability that can be leveraged by advertisers in the real estate and hospitality industries. It is clear that the Oculus Rift has the power to revolutionize advertising.

References

Biocca, F., & Levy, M. R. (Eds.). (2013). Communication in the age of virtual reality. Routledge.

Cassidy, A. (2015). What does virtual reality mean for advertising in 2016? The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2016 http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/dec/03/virtual-reality-in-advertising-2016

Casterson, S. (2016). Oculus Rift: A beginner’s guide. Conceptual Kings.

Curtis, S. (2016). Oculus Rift virtual reality could be monitoring your activity and using it for advertising. The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 6 May 2016 http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/oculus-rift-virtual-reality-headset-7686981

Dooris, J. (2016). What Oculus Rift means for advertisers. The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 6 May 2016 http://www.afr.com/technology/what-oculus-rift-means-for-advertisers-20160301-gn7i8v

Rift: Next-generation virtual reality. (2016). Oculus. Retrieved 6 May 2016 https://www.oculus.com/en-us/rift/