Virtual reality (VR) was on the tip of everyone’s tongue this year at CES and it goes without saying that it’s on the fast track to mainstream reality, evolving from niche executions into everyday life through gaming, commerce, social media, entertainment and more. In fact, Samsung announced during CES that more than 5 million Gear VR headsets have been sold and investments from top media companies, like Facebook, Time Inc, USA Today, The New York Times and others are setting the stage for consumer adaptation. 2016 was a watershed year for VR, but 2017 has even more to come, with a strong focus on VR content, making it engaging, relevant and authentic.

New Accessories Bring VR to Life

While VR headsets were last year’s trend, this year’s CES show floor featured more accessories to enhance the VR experience. It was all about greater immersion with devices such as strap-on connected soles, gloves and finger trackers, as well as vests and blasters that enable consumers to use full body motion to more naturally interact within VR worlds. Additionally, wireless VR headset adapters are allowing VR enthusiasts to cut the cord from their PCs and walk around freely.

More Brands Building Virtual Consumer Experiences

Beyond these innovations, VR is becoming more actionable for brands. Publicis Media clients and partners who visited our lounge were given a demo by Tiltshift where they could strap on a headset to build a new model Lexus (color, tires, accessories) and then step inside the car. This kind of technology takes the car dealership experience directly into people’s living rooms. Use cases for brands are many, including:
• Travel: See and experience a plane seat before buying
• Beauty: Virtually try on different products and experiment with looks
• Home Brands: Build a kitchen, paint a wall or redesign a bathroom before going all in
• Retail: Try on clothes or look inside a bag to see if it will fit all of your things