Campaign visited Somo’s innovation lab to try on the HTC Vive and experience what consistently good virtual reality feels like.
Virtual reality fatigue
Unlike early versions of headsets like the Oculus Rift, the wearer does not feel any nausea with the HTC Vive.
More than nausea, a problem for the average user might be "VR fatigue". After more than five minutes of using the Vive's controllers as a bow and arrow in one game, we felt tired, sweaty and claustrophobic inside the headset.
Another game, survival shooter Brookhaven Experiment, sees the user battle zombies close-up for as long as possible. The game is designed with serious limitations on the user – the torch battery and ammo is finite, meaning an inexperienced user succumbs to zombies quickly. The game is terrifying and, again, exhausting.
The takeaway for brands might be that intense experiences work well for gamer types, but will scare away the average user.
Ikea's virtual kitchen
There are few branded experiences for the HTC Vive, partly because the technology remains niche. A headset costs £770 in the UK, and requires a beefy graphics card and processor to run. It’s also complex to set up.
Ikea has created a virtual kitchen for users to explore. This was not just about showcasing new kitchen designs, but Ikea’s trademark sense of humour. There were Ikea meatballs to cook (or throw across the room) and Ikea pencils to scribble with (or again, throw across the room).
Another Google branded experience, called Google Tilt Brush, is an advanced version of Paint. The user can create 3D designs with a palette of colours and a range of paintbrushes – that can mean trippy pictures or something as sophisticated as a dress pattern.