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WebVR’s Magic Window Is The Gateway For Pushing VR to Billions of People - UploadVR
I’ve covered the WebVR space from various angles recently, arguing that it’s the most practical and accessible way to consume VR, that it’s now being increasingly prioritized and supported by the top VR players and browsers, and how it enjoys the unique role of enabling the next iteration of the Internet. The next major point I want to turn your attention to is the ‘magic window’ that allows WebVR content to be consumed by any smartphone or desktop user. Unlike other types of VR, you can instantly load WebVR content simply by grabbing the URL. Although the obvious intent is for you to experience that content with a VR headset, you don’t necessarily need one. You can pan around your smartphone in the air and the content will be responsive, in a similar way to what we’re already accustomed to when viewing 360-degree photos and films. In fact, most WebVR content is already being consumed with 2D screens rather than headsets. Case in point is Vizor, one of the most popular and easiest platforms for creating and publishing WebVR content, which recently raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by The Venture Reality Fund and co-led by Inventure. “We see that currently about 15 percent of viewers view the experiences in VR. That number has remained stable for a while, haven’t seen a big change in the last year or so.” Antti Jäderholm, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Vizor, told me. “So 85% consume WebVR experiences from our site without any headset.” But isn’t that a bad thing? No, it’s actually awesome. Figure 1 – Magic window on a variety of screens and devices (credit: Ada Rose Edwards) The magic window or screen viewing of immersive content effectively gets the VR industry’s foot in the door in a very unique way. If you reframe your thinking to look at this form of consumption as an opportunity, then you’ve just instantly expanded your market to reach billions of smartphone and desktop users who can all access your content – now. “While experiencing VR content in a headset will be the richest, most immersive way to consume it, seeing the content in 2D will be a gateway experience for users and could result in accelerated adoption of VR hardware and VR ecosystem growth as a whole.” Megan Lindsay, Product Manager Chrome VR, told me. WebVR serves as a gateway for pushing virtual reality to smartphone and desktop users because it allows for creators to design content that will be responsive for limited hardware while enhancing the immersive element as the user transitions over to more advanced platforms. As the hardware upgrades, additional functionality comes into play that adds on additional layers of immersion, enlivening the environment to offer increasing degrees of interactivity. Oculus’ WebVR product manager Andrew Mo has this to say about progressive immersion: “Just like how images are more engaging than text, and video more so than images, we’ve seen 360 content really explode in the last year as people get more sophisticated in creating and sharing this [...]