The virtual reality gauntlet has been thrown, and it seems that Facebook and Google are the top contenders. After Facebook’s February announcement that they were actively developing VR software, it was rumored that Google was working on a similar technology. The first product to hit the market will set the bar for VR, increasing the urgency of the development stage. Given the potential of this new technology, it seems there will a race to the finish line between these two tech giants.
The Possibilities of VR
Virtual reality’s potential is endless. It will not only redefine every form of electronic entertainment, but it may also dramatically change the way we communicate and do business. The technology will change users from passive to active as they interact with movies, TV shows, and video games. As VR develops, it may introduce virtual conferencing or calling, allowing users to simulate real conversations with friends, loved ones, and colleagues.
The market for this software is unreal. The variety of uses will appeal to a wide range of demographics, allowing the initial creator to corner the market on the next generation of entertainment and communication technology. It’s possible that VR may even come to overshadow the Internet, which may spell disaster for the loser of the development race.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that VR will follow in the footsteps of 3D and simply fail to gain traction. While the potential is there, there’s always the risk that consumers simply won’t take to it.
What This Means for Google & Facebook
Whoever is the first to introduce virtual reality software to the market will have the chance to create their own set of standards. The second release, then, will be responding to these standards and will lose a lot of freedom in their development process. It isn’t simply that they must match feature for feature, but that users will get used to a certain interface and may be hesitant to make the leap to a competitor once that second platform is released.
There’s also the problem of what happens to Facebook or Google after VR exists. If the new software encompasses everything they could accomplish using the social media or online searching, there will be a steady decline of people actively using either Facebook or Google. They’ll be left in the wake of the Next Big Thing.
So, in order to avoid being the responder to a new technology, or being left with the dregs of internet users after virtual reality’s launch, it’s imperative for both Google and Facebook that they release their new software before their competitor. Of course, there’s the possibility that a third party will make a release before either of these two Internet behemoths, which could spell disaster for either company.