In my last article I explored the concept that websites as we know them may be about to change forever thanks to VR technology. In today's post I discuss how advertising may be about to do just that also...
What About Advertising?
There is a new medium in town and everybody is going crazy for it. The recent release of various VR headsets has left every technology related company scrambling to find out where they can fit into it. There is money to be made through VR applications and experiences and that will most likely be the case for the foreseeable future as what looks like the next big thing progresses from baby steps to big man strides over the coming years.
The question I have seen raised today is “What about advertising?”. How will the marketing cracker-jacks of the world find a way to ruin it for everybody? Does the Oculus Rift come with an ad-blocker installed? The answer of course is no. But will it need one?
I came across a post on Reddit earlier today which depicted a couple of kids sitting on a VR rollercoaster. Through their headset they could see the virtual simulation covered with pop-up 2D adverts. You know, like you would see on a video online. One of them even had the text “You can close this advert in 5 seconds”, words that make any Youtube viewer’s eyes roll on sight. The caption read “The Future of Virtual Reality”.
I think you will agree that even the thought of this is unpleasant.
Does it make sense though? I hate the pop-ups as much as any other click addicted cyber child, but at least there is logic attached. The advertisers need to reach us somehow and when we have full control that is hard to do. We can simply navigate away from the advert or we can enjoy the content after a five second interruption. It’s mildly annoying for me and effective for advertisers.
That is in a 2d world though, on a 2d screen. If you try and use pop adverts like that in a virtual world they would be insufferable. Imagine those horrible adverts popping up right in front of your eyeball…. *Shiver*. So let’s start a petition to get advertising banned from VR for good before it’s too late right? Wrong. Obviously.
Imagine you are playing a VR game. You are on the streets of New York strolling down 5th Avenue making sure you have killed all the zombies in the area. You look up to see the stunning Empire State Building towering above you as snowflakes fall gently towards your face. Fitting, as it actually is December in real life. All is quiet and the streets are empty. Until you hear an engine, a loud one coming from behind your head. You turn around to see an articulated truck coming towards you. You dive out of the way just in time to see it flying past…a deranged zombie driver behind the wheel… Coca-Cola written in lights on the side… “Holidays are Coming” blaring from the radio and of course St. Nick giving you a big refreshing wink. Fancy a coke?
That is the future of advertising and that is the future of VR. If it’s not well then they are doing it all wrong.