Disrupted Reality – the adoption curve of virtual reality

VR is coming faster than you think to the mass market

iDisrupted Commentary

I gave a speech at the ABCe advertising conference a few weeks ago where is described the existing model of advertising as a “dead man walking” and the industry needed to find new channels to talk to consumers . . . VR being one of them.

Virtual Reality Adoption CurveI could feel the scepticism in the room – one person pronounced that “adoption curve for VR could be a very long slope”. Nope – and here’s the evidence:

From TechCrunchIn a Google blog post today, the company detailed a few quick stats on the company’s Cardboard program. This interestingly comes at a time when it’s clear Google is looking to further emphasize virtual reality and augmented reality from a hardware perspective through recent moves.

Nevertheless, Google took some time today to pause and look at where it was 19 months after launching the program.


Over five million Google Cardboard viewers have been shipped globally. These come in all shapes and sizes, the NYT Cardboard, the Star Wars Cardboard, Mattel Cardboard etc. Google has effectively invaded the VR scene and given people something to say “wow” about with what is now in many ways an iconic product.

Another milestone is that there have now been more than 25 million downloads of VR compatible apps, and that figure is just from the Google Play store. Google’s first wave of VR has left the company acting as more of an enabler of experiences than a provider of them, we’ll see how that shifts in the future but for the time being it seems it’s being successful at what it sought to do.

Another interesting stat released is that nearly 350 thousand hours of YouTube content have been watched in Cardboard viewing mode. That’s another number you can expect to see increase; YouTube just hired a former Jaunt exec to act as their “Global Virtual Reality Evangelist.” In a similar vein of content viewing, the company also detailed that nearly 750 thousand VR photos had been taken with Cardboard Camera.

Perhaps one of the coolest things Google is doing right now are its VR educational experiences. Today, Google detailed that 500,000 students had gone on these virtual reality expeditions, which are sure to not be their last experiences with VR in the classroom.


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