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By Tom Ffiske // 11 November 2020
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I added four Scotch Bonnets to a stir fry... and it was a disaster. My housemate woke up coughing from the spicy fumes wafting from the kitchen. Yes, lockdown is going great, why do you ask?
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The Main Story
Let’s talk about marketing VR hardware and software. How do you market a technology so reliant on having a personal experience, when a video or poster cannot compare? The answer for VR hardware manufacturers is to host on-site events where people can try it out, or to highlight how it goes ‘beyond’ normal gameplay. ‘Defy reality’ was a great tagline for the Oculus Quest, because it effectively communicated how it lifts people to new worlds. Compositing players with the Beat Saber blades on posters was also a great way to show what people would be doing. Still, the hands-on experience is arguably the most impactful way to convert new customers.

What about VR software? To an extent it is easier because you are targeting a base of people who own the hardware. Most companies seed their content to YouTubers and VR-specific publications, where their audiences own the tools necessary to play the games / experiences. Lessons can also be learned from the social media strategies of other companies; Fall Guys is a great example, and I highly recommend reading this article on how they shot into the stratosphere.

Other companies have taken a different approach. FitXR launched an ad campaign which uses eclectic imagery and absurdist comedy to advertise their product. The ad prompted a few questions, partially because it gave me visual whiplash like I left a violently-coloured fever dream. I asked Shelly Pearce, CMO at FitXR, about their reasoning behind it: 
  • ‘The style is all about being bold and unexpected to stand out amongst the more traditional fitness ads. Each scene acts as a parody of working out. The intention is to poke fun at the seriousness of the fitness industry and to show that with FitXR, it doesn’t actually have to be like this.' The CMO also noted that the audience they were reaching out to was ‘everyone who is looking for a more fun and accessible way to work out.’
Converting non-VR consumers into fitness VR users is hard, but that’s exactly what FitXR wants to do. Targeting people who want to get fit at home in new and different ways is difficult, and FitXR provides an interesting case study on a different kind of approach.
The article explains, I promise. Photo credit: FitXR.
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Michigan State University created a cutting-edge Digital Scholarship Lab, with an Igloo Vision Shared VR system as its centrepiece. Download this case study to learn about the myriad uses the staff and students have found for their Igloo immersive technology.

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Other Stories
Got a news story? Let me know at tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com.
  • For theatre and live events, does XR (actually) help during the pandemic?
    • We will be answering this question next week, during a live discussion on 19 November. We will explore how production companies have adapted to the pandemic; lessons learned from implementing XR solutions to theatre and live events; and whether XR has a future in the industry through 2021 and beyond. The session will be sponsored by Copper Candle, a creative technology company.
    • Interested in learning more? Register your participation today. 
  • The PS5 is out, but it's not so good for VR.
    • I personally don't mind (yet), as the PSVR 2 will be coming out at some point. But if you really care, here is a write-up on why it's sub-par
    • In the meantime, I am hyped AF for Demon's Souls. 
  • Did you know there was a VR furry convention? 
  • The Microsoft Hololens 2 is now available in more territories. 
    • You can now get it in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Nice. 
  • The iPhone 12 came out, and AR devs are loving it.
    • Even simple experiences like moving cubes show the huge potential of LiDAR technology. 
    • LiDAR will form the basis of Apple's vision in AR, though it will take a few generations for it to reach full maturity (at least among smartphones). 
  • VRChat hit 24,000 cocurrent users.
  • Remember seeing those Oculus Elite Straps snapping? 
    • Facebook knows all too well, and is suspending shipments until the issue is solved. Whoops.  
  • AR creators, want to donate your skills to a good cause?
  • MANUS dropped the starting price of its finger-tracking gloves to €1,499.
    • More details on the gloves can be found here.
    • Disclaimer: I provided freelance PR support for MANUS ahead of this announcement.
  • Want to learn more about XR and medicine/surgery, from a Leeds context?
    • Leeds Extended Reality has you covered; check out the details of their upcoming event on 13 November here
  • If you buy a SkyReal lisence, you get an HP Reverb 2 headset for free. 
    • SkyReal has joined HP’s Independent Software Vendor programme as a VR partner to support HP’s roll-out of its new headset.
  • Oh, and KP9 Interactive has become an official IBM Cloud Platform Partner.
    • Congratulations! 🍷 Here is what they do, which is a bit like wading through a dense forest of words: 'KP9 brings its newly-released WorldCAST engine to the partnership - a hardware, browser, and operating system agnostic, state-of-the-art WebAR activated SaaS content platform that allows users to create, publish, and share immersive print-based, product visualization, and geobased content using augmented reality in three unique online studios; PrintCAST, ShowCAST, and GeoCAST.'
    • Yes, all the above is one sentence - I think they need a copy editor. But to summarise, WorldCAST lets users make WebAR content relatively quickly and easily. Check them out here
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That's all for this week! Want to have a chat, let me know about a news story, or talk business? Either reply to this email, or contact tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com. Have an excellent day! 

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