Virtual Reality Devices

free essayVirtual reality devices replicate a real or an imagined environment through simulation, allowing the interaction with that world (Zyda, 2005). Such devices artificially create sensory experiences, including touch, sight, hearing, and smell. Various companies develop virtual reality devices either to simulate an environment for education and training or to develop an imagined world for an interactive story or a game. Such producers include Google, Valve, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, and Oculus among others. An example of a virtual reality device is Rift from Oculus. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that plugs into computer’s DVI and USB ports and tracks head movements of the user to provide three-dimensional images on its stereo screens (Goradia, Doshi, & Kurup, 2014). Though the device is game-focused and meant to make games more immersive, the Oculus Rift is capable of much more. For instance, the device can create virtual reality three-dimensional cinema. Even more impressive is that the Oculus Rift has a huge potential for healthcare applications. It is especially effective for people in isolation from the real world, with phobias and general social anxieties. Exposure therapy and post-traumatic stress treatment are among the areas that can benefit from the device. In addition, though not yet proven, the Oculus Rift may be used by people who are nervous during public speaking to practice in front of a virtual crowd.

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Products of Oculus

There are three levels of a product, namely, the core, actual, and augmented types. The first one is intangible with the primary benefit, which enables the product to have value. The actual product is a tangible commodity that a consumer uses. The augmented product is a commodity consisting of both primary physical attributes and non-physical part, which usually consists of added value. Keeping these levels of product in mind, actual products of Oculus are Oculus Ready PCs and Gear VR. The Oculus Rift is an augmented product since the company has added additional services to it for the generation of multiple revenue streams. Some of these additional characteristics include games such as EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. They differentiate the product from that of competitors and hence result in increased revenues.

The Market for the Oculus Rift

To date, the main target audience of the Oculus Rift is gamers. Oculus has contributed a lot to gaming as seen by the partnership with Microsoft, as well as other known game studios. In addition, the company has invested more than ten million dollars in the creation of virtual reality titles by indie developers. During Oculus’ pre-E3 event in June 2015, the CEO of the company, Brendan Iribe, made it clear that Oculus was committed to making the Oculus Rift a legit gaming peripheral. The sentiments have made the Rift oriented at a specific market and helped to convince developers that it is a worthy venture to create games for the device. Though the latter mainly concentrates on gaming, during an interview, Brendan Iribe claimed that he believed that the ultimate application of the device was actually in the sphere of social communication (Goradia, Doshi, & Kurup, 2014).

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The Segment Targeted by the Oculus Rift

The segment of the market that the product is mainly targeting is people between the ages of 20 and 30, who are frequent gamers. Most of them are a male population who are more willing and have the ability to spend on games, consoles, and related accessories. The target segment also consists of early adopters of novel game technologies who have the latest consoles and games, and do not mind the lack of support (Goradia, Doshi, & Kurup, 2014). They love to explore new game experiences and game worlds. The target segment of the Oculus Rift enjoys first-person games, such as racing, shooting, horror, and a sandbox. Despite this being the case, more and more people are becoming interested in the application of virtual reality devices in different spheres of life. It is a result of the increasing technological adoption rate worldwide, as well as a rise in the number of application developers interested in developing for virtual reality devices. With this trend, the target market of such products will encompass a larger range of age groups, as well as will attract more females through diversifying markets.

Segment, Targeting and Positioning Recommendations

The segmentation, targeting, and positioning model is an important strategic approach to modern marketing. It is especially useful for creating marketing communication plans, since it assists in the prioritization of propositions by marketers and makes them able to deliver relevant messages to engage with different audiences (Cravens & Piercy, 2006). Segmentation assists in identifying niches with specific needs to deliver effective and focused marketing messages. The Oculus Company can use segmentation to target a broader market segment regarding age, gender and income. Since currently a large number of people who are impressed by the Oculus Rift are male gamers between 20-30, the company can widen its market by venturing into other applications of the device, such as the cinematic view of movies. It will allow to reach even a wider audience. Market targeting and product positioning enable the evaluation of potential commercial attractiveness of each segment (Cravens & Piercy, 2006). The company can attract a large share of the market by partnering with console makers, distributing the Oculus Software Development Kit to game developers, and providing support and updates that they may need. The company can also diversify its market by venturing into cinemas, theme parks, training camps, schools, property agencies, and interior design.

The Oculus Rift is Here to Stay

Based on its benefits discussed above, the Oculus Rift is a product that is here to stay. It has a lot of future possibilities of use if the company chooses to diversify its markets. For the product to target a wide audience, it needs to do further research and development in the areas of human life that the product is likely to impact. One such area is the full coverage of the human vision span. Virtual reality has become the next big thing, and though the technology has not matured yet, developing such devices will create awareness and attract potential investors who will ultimately lead to more research and development in the industry. Most game developers believe that virtual and augmented realities have the capability to be successful and long-term businesses. As a result, the active development of the virtual reality platform has risen by 16% over the past few years. The Oculus Rift showed the world that it was here to stay when the company started to venture into other non-gaming projects, such as Oculus Story Studio. Besides, the CEO of the company has pointed out that although the device mainly concentrates on gaming, Oculus is soon going to venture into its application in other areas, such as social communication in its long-term strategy. In the modern world, all need communication devices to communicate with a greater number of people (Biocca & Levy, 2013). The company’s involvement in social communication, supported by the Facebook acquisition, is going to make virtual reality devices here to stay.

Actions Aimed to Enable the Company to Avoid a Premature Decline of Its Product

Various actions will enable the company to avoid a premature decline of the Oculus Rift. The major factor is market diversity. The company should tailor their product to meet expectations of diverse markets. As opposed to concentrating on gaming, Oculus can venture into other areas, such as the cinema for it to create an immersive movie experience, theme parks where it can develop interactive simulations, and digital games. The company’s device can assist in training camps, such as in Olympic, military and pilot trainings. Additionally, the company can tailor their product for usage in schools, property agencies and interior design to create immersive visualization. The company should learn from the past product failures for the future developments, design, strategies and the implementation of the product to be more successful. It will prevent the company from experiencing financial difficulties that prohibit it from meeting its profitability objectives. The Oculus Rift had a head start, since it was the first to deliver consumer-friendly virtual reality devices, and received support of big game studios such as Square-Enix and Insomniac Games.