The Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus launched its newest piece of hardware today, the Oculus Go: essentially a pared-down version of the Oculus Rift at a lower price point (about $200).
To hype the new launch, Oculus has kicked off a new marketing campaign dubbed “Open Your Eyes,” featuring spots that provide a VR POV of skydiving, cliff jumping, deep sea fishing, boxing, front row at the game or the show, and more. Created by the ad agency Anomaly, the campaign is essentially a flashy product demo, which is exactly what Oculus director of global marketing Jennifer Henry says the VR category needs right now.
“We definitely wanted to convey through the spots what it’s like to look at something in VR,” says Henry. “That’s one thing, particularly in a mass audience, that people still aren’t really sure about. So we wanted to make sure we had this 360 view, and show the content potential from the get-go.”
The new product and campaign are aimed to help VR–and Oculus–scale more significantly beyond the gaming market, by far the strongest sales area of any VR hardware. Virtual reality is expected to become a $38 billion industry by 2026. Right now, the market leader in high-end headsets is Sony, expected to sell more than 2 million PlayStation VR headsets this year, about twice as many as Oculus Rift. Meanwhile, at the lower end of the price scale is Google, which has shipped more than 10 million Cardboard headsets since 2014 and plenty of its Daydream headsets. There is also Samsung’s Gear VR, which requires a Samsung smartphone and could hit sales of 10 million in 2018.
The Oculus Go appears to be a play for the middle ground between the higher-end Oculus Rift and the PlayStation VR, and the cheaper phone-enabled headsets at the low end.
“The category has been in a place where it’s got a strong presence in gaming, but it hasn’t landed in a way, with the types of content and uses that have made it really accessible just yet,” says Henry. “If we’re able to provide a better understanding of what you’re able to do with the device, make it more affordable, and excite people about that, then we’ll be able to attract more people to VR.”