It’s official, Google Cardboard won over 5 million people and it’s not expected that it will be slowing down in 2016, a year that most consider to be virtual reality’s time to shine. Titans such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are coming. Full steam ahead, the VR high-tech headsets are on their way, so competition is about to get fierce.
Up until now, Google Cardboard seems to have dominating the VR market, and part of the success could be attributed to timing. Virtual reality was a new concept, an exciting field, and it was just beginning in June 2014, when the product first launched. It was a time when not all knew the true power of VR and were not willing to invest hundreds of dollars into it. Thus, it was perfect for a cheap, accessible, and easy to use headset.
Google Cardboard costs just around $20 and it’s basically powered by your smartphone. It’s more of a support than an actual device, but it has proven to be the perfect way of introducing the world to virtual reality. And, since its official launch one and a half years ago, it has brought VR into the lives of 5 million people.
The success of the project was undoubtedly aided by partnership with the New York Times and several other groups, including the promotion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens through themed devices. It seemed that the sci-fi franchise was everywhere in late 2015, and Google certainly did not miss the opportunity. Everything looked more attractive if it looked like one of the characters from Star Wars.
Furthermore, Google’s Expeditions project was brought to over 500,000 students who got to enjoy the magic of VR through Google Cardboard. The device was used for educational purposes, transporting students into an entirely different world directly from their classroom. There’s no better way to learn about dinosaurs than actually standing near one and observing.
The apps stood at the base of Google Cardboard’s success, of course. Reportedly, there have been 25 million downloads of VR apps on Google Play, with different ways to experience virtual reality. When it’s so cheap and easily accessible, it’s difficult to resist the temptation for anyone interested in the field. Especially when YouTube is also granting lots of content to enjoy.
According to Google’s reports, viewers have watched around 350,000 hours of virtual reality on the video-sharing website and have taken 750,000 pictures with Cardboard’s camera. It puts forward an entirely new experience. The fascination of not just looking at a picture, but being in it is certainly one we thought to belong in sci-fi movies.
In addition to the good news, it doesn’t look like Google is slowing down on VR. In fact, the company recently opened a new division that will focus solely on virtual reality, and posted job openings online that suggest they want to venture further. Google has made it known that they want an engineer ready to create consumer hardware, one focused on VR.
So, while Google Cardboard is basking in its success, there are probably more VR gadgets to come out of the company.
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