Week on week we hear investors making bold claims about virtual reality becoming the next big technological leap – with the UK being one of those investment centers.
The UK is home to key players in the industry right now, all making their mark in the space through game development and VR video production, creating this hive for VR investment activity and creation. But according to a new report from Greenlight VR and SuperAwesome, the key to success for virtual reality is still going to be driving greater awareness with consumers about the new technology, rather than investment commitments and content development.
Greenlight VR’s report surveyed over 1,000 respondents throughout the United Kingdom on their awareness of virtual reality, interest in purchasing headsets, trying applications and general concerns surrounding VR adoption.
VR’s Awareness Problem
When it comes to UK awareness of virtual reality, the data shows that surprisingly only 8% of respondents were confident to say they ‘knew a lot’ about the technological developments in VR compared to 23% that had never heard of virtual reality (that’s better than the US where it was as high as 25%). Although familiarity among UK consumers is low, at least some 77% are aware or have heard of virtual reality.
Teens Will Purchase VR
The data paints a more positive picture with younger consumers though, with 48% of Gen Z respondents (age 10-17) claiming being familiar with recent VR developments and 71% saying they will either purchase a headset themselves or ask their parents to make the purchase for them. Surprisingly, 25% said they will spend their own money.
Also according to the report, Sony Playstation VR has a slight edge in awareness over the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR. 41% of respondents have heard of or tried Playstation VR, while 35% of respondents are aware or have used the Rift or Gear VR.
Responding parents were not without concerns about their child’s use of VR. 25% of parents expressed their hesitation surrounding the possibility of adverse health effects, cost and everyday usefulness for their child. Aside from a worry about anti-social behavior, other parent concerns raised included “losing track of time”, “addiction” and “feeling isolated and cut off from reality.”
The latest report from Greenlight VR shows that virtual reality’s greatest obstacle in 2016 is in fact consumer awareness and education around safety and social behavior, rather than the lack of content or high costs of VR headsets. The company suggests that the future of VR is dependent on more than just word of mouth by early enthusiasts, it will require new consumers to actually experience for themselves what it’s like to venture into a virtual world.
The 2016 United Kingdom VR Consumer Report by Greenlight VR is a 60-page report analysing consumer trends for virtual reality products and content in the United Kingdom and United States, aimed towards marketers and investors looking for more in-depth research and insights around the virtual reality industry.