Grafik Blog Virtual Reality Looking Glass Image

Through The New Looking Glass

My body sits comfortably in an Aeron chair in suburban Maryland. But my eyes tell me I’m on a decrepit space station on the forgotten fringes of the galaxy, staring into the jaws of a 9-foot-tall alien. I instinctively turn away to remind myself that it’s only a game. But I still see space station, and a monstrous hand closing in on my face. Because in virtual reality, there is no looking away.

And there’s no looking away from VR’s ability to create visceral, immersive experiences. Formerly relegated to 1990s sci-fi films and motion sickness-inducing misfires like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, the technology is finally catching up to the vision. Today, with the amount of competition in the industry, VR technology is more accessible than ever. There’s never been a better time for marketers with imagination to tap into its potential.

When done right, virtual reality creates a powerful feeling of “being there” that’s hard to describe until you’ve experienced it firsthand. HBO used it to masterful effect as part of a “Game of Thrones” traveling exhibition, in which guests strapped on an Oculus Rift and took a simulated ride up the 700-foot Wall at Castle Black. Adding surround sound, cold winds, and shaking floors, the illusion was convincing and unforgettable. You can see it at the 1:08 mark in this video:

But VR’s potential goes way beyond fun and games. Imagine you’re a builder, just beginning construction on a spectacular new development. How do you convince customers to buy something that won’t exist for another year? You could rely on a few static renderings and some flowery prose to sell them on your vision. Or let them explore an interactive 3D version, where they can play with the lights, look out the windows, and see themselves living there. And you might be more likely to see them signing a check.

It sounds futuristic, but this stuff is happening now. Architects are using it to preview new designs inside and out. And live broadcasts of concerts and even political debates give viewers a 360-degree view of the action. What could be next? Fashion displays that allow shoppers to “try on” outfits instantly. Government tourism boards offering previews of their country’s attractions from half a world away. Or schools that use VR to recruit students who aren’t able to tour the campus in person.

As virtual reality comes closer to actual reality, the potential for marketers to create engaging experiences is only going to grow. And that’s true whether you’re test-driving flying cars, selling tropical vacation homes, or dodging hungry aliens.

Grafik logo as a placeholder for author's image
Aaron Spratt

Related Articles

Why website accessibility should be part of your DE&I agenda
In the previous segment of our Web Accessibility Standards series, we delved into the significance of website accessibility and its profound impact on user experience. In this installment, we’ll dig deeper and explore a set…
Read More
Humans vs. AI: Four contests reveal key traits AI can’t copy
The question of “man versus machine” has fascinated people for centuries. Many works of literature across cultures and history involve competition between humans and gadgets, from folk tales such as John Henry to movies such…
Read More
What’s different about Google’s GA4?
Google Analytics has been the industry-standard web analytics tool for more than a decade, helping businesses of all sizes to measure the performance of their websites and gain insights into their audience’s behavior. But, as…
Read More
The AI invasion: Keep calm and create on
If you’re as chronically online as I am, you couldn’t open a social app in December without seeing artificial intelligence portraits of your friends and peers. Many of the portraits come from the app Lensa,…
Read More