Pricing for virtual reality cameras continues to go from extreme to extreme, the latest example being an astronomical $15,000 price reduction of Nokia’s VR camera, the Ozo. Sitting on the current cutting-edge, likely to be superseded next week, the device captures 360° spherical video for creating immersive content via VR devices. The new price is $45,000, and is effective immediately.
Nokia has been silent regarding sales figures, but based on the significant price drop it’s unlikely that their chosen target market – professional content creators – have been quick to invest in what is undeniably a fantastic piece of hardware. More likely, it’s a response to Facebook’s open source VR camera which can be purchased for $30,000, depending on where you source your parts from.
The most interesting part of the ongoing attempt to define the VR market, is a lack of overall leadership, even from the likes of Facebook who has invested heavily in the technology. Nobody is prepared to point towards specific platforms or methodology and as a result, the market is waiting – not because content creators don’t want to be involved, but because the technology is still seen as young and investors as early adopters.
Virtual reality, is in desperate need of its own Pokémon Go – a champion to demonstrate to the masses the effectiveness of VR, and how it can effectively integrate into our day-to-day lives – not only hypothetically – but also as an immersive experience, practical and relevant. There can be little doubt that advertisers are chomping at the bit to get involved – but there is little point in creating awesome content that doesn’t get watched, and nobody wants to be a warning story for other businesses.
VR urgently needs to get past this phase if it is to live up to expectation, and not become the Apple Watch of content creation. At the moment there is very little to compel audiences into VR experiences beyond novelty value, and as a result, people are interested, but not eager. The onus rests with Facebook, Samsung and other so-called proponents of the technology who have been proactive in their promotion of hardware, but slow to combine that with tangible business, and entertainment outcomes.