In the past 2 years alone, we’ve seen massive jumps in Virtual Reality adoption. A big part of that adoption has been the gaming industry, as gamers are always looking for something new and fun to challenge themselves with. The main reason that VR has done so well is the fact that it fully immerses you in whatever content you are indulging yourself in. For that exact reason, I think Virtual Reality is amazing for everyone and not just gamers. Let me explain.
As the manager of VRPlayin, I have a unique chance to meet with many different types of people from all backgrounds. From the customers that come into our store to the offsite events we run, everyone has a different story to tell. We have found lots of success in presenting VR to non-gamers and that is why today I am going to talk about 4 different times I’ve personally experienced non-gamers really embracing the technology we have today.
The Busy Parents
We have had so many times where parents walk by our venue and decide we’re the answer to their needs (just letting their kids use up their energy) or parents book this weeks ahead of time as an outing for the whole family. Many times I have seen this happen where the parents sit back with a drink while their kids shoot some robots or play baseball and eventually they realize it’s not just about being a gamer. Seeing the kids swinging the baseball bat in real time or shooting with their arms out and reloading the guns, the parents begin to fully understand the immersion and more often that not, I have parents wanting to try it themselves. As we have experiences tailored to all tastes, I have gotten parents slicing some fruit in Fruit Ninja, watching a stop-motion movie or challenging themselves to an escape room. Once the session ends, they always come out of the headset with the same perspective: Although they are not gamers, they can truly enjoy being immersed in an experience that physically challenged their senses, something that games on a screen simply cannot do.
The Corporate Treasure Hunt
As we do offsite events, we are always creative and adapting content to match the needs of the clients. This one event, we were the team-building exercise for top management execs from a international company. We decided to make a treasure hunt in Google Earth VR. We split the group, which was absolutely not gamers (senior management executives) into groups and put four groups face to face in a treasure hunt around the world. In each location, there was a noteworthy landmark to be found and as teams began to get closer and closer to the end, they put together the pieces of the puzzle that each location was a walk through the history of the entire company. From the first headquarters they ever had to big national events or the city of the founders, ever piece had a bit of history to it. At the end of the race, there was a team victorious and all these high-level executives found some fun in playing around with Virtual Reality, which at the end of the day, is exactly what we’re doing.
This experience always brings a tear to my eye. A gentleman we worked with had told me on our 15th meeting that he always wished he could try VR. I told him why didn’t he jump into a headset and see for himself. He replied to me with an answer he must have given to so many people, “Well I’ve been blind in one eye since I was 4 years old. I have never been able to see 3D, so I don’t think it would work.” I then told him there are two screens and two seperate lenses with our headset so I was curious what would happen if he tried. The moment he put the headset up to his eyes, he immediately pulled it away and began crying. I have never seen someone’s world change so dramatically in a split-second. He put it back to his eyes again and looked around for the first time in 35 years with a three-dimensional perspective. He played a few titles and cried some more. As he got out of the headset he just hugged me and sobbed, telling me I’d changed his life. That is an experience I will never forget.
The Loving Husband
This one is a loving story of an older gentleman who came into our venue for his granddaughters birthday party. As he was watching the kids we got talking about how VR can take you to places you’ve never been. I showed him an experience we had at the time where he could travel to preset locations and experience it as if he were really there. He immediately booked two stations for an evening that week. On the day he booked the stations, he showed up with his wife of 50 years and told her they were going on the trip they’d always wanted but couldn’t afford. We popped on the headsets, got them connected and he then began to show her around Italy in the trip he’d always wanted to take her. They explored famous monuments, rode a water taxi and sat under the stars while classic italian music played in the background. They loved every second of it. Although I’m sure they get pretty serious when it comes to the card game bridge, I don’t think they were particularly ‘gamers’ and they loved every second of their date.
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With those perspectives, I hope you’ve seen different takes on why Virtual Reality isn’t just for gamers. Although there are hundreds of other views I could take on this, such as ones that would fall outside of our venue environment and more into other fields like medical and training, I think this just goes to show that although Virtual Reality is growing, it still has a long way to go before we are all adopting it into our daily routines. However, until that happens, at least it is fun to know that there is an experience out there for everyone, even if you’re into video games or not.