With the recent release of the Samsung Gear VR, coupled with the increasing promotion of Google Cardboard which both allow you to have virtual reality experiences by dropping your phone into display devices, we’re officially entering into the era of virtual reality technology. Although high-end headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR won’t be commercially available until next year, low-cost mobile powered devices can provide a taste of what’s to come. Here are some of the biggest promotional apps that are sure to pave the way for the months ahead.
Star Wars App
While there are dozens of mobile VR apps to choose from, none wield The Force like the Star Wars app will. Updating with VR content on Dec. 2, the adventure represents a partnership between Disney, Google and Verizon to promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will include a serialized experience that ties directly in with the movie. This, in addition to the bigger Google promotion, where users can choose the Light or Dark side, and their entire Google experience from Gmail to YouTube is customized accordingly. The Force is strong here.
The North Face
The outdoors clothing company fully embraced VR in a number of surprising ways, which is hardly surprising given how the company wants to gear you up for extreme experiences. In a partnership with Jaunt, its promotion is based on sharing experiences like rock climbing and visiting remote parts of the world from the comfort of home. Perhaps these experiences will inspire audiences to go out and have some real world adventures of their own. Other clothing brands have gotten the same idea, with companies like Tommy Hilfiger using the Samsung Gear VR at select retail locations to give viewers a front-row seat at the Hilfiger Collection fashion show.
Just Cause 3 Wingsuit Experience
Although video games and VR go hand-in-hand, the promotion of Just Cause 3 took a different view with its promotion. The open-world action game isn’t designed for virtual reality. Square Enix created The Wingsuit Experience, which uses Google Cardboard to give audiences a bird’s eye view of the world and explosive destruction while gliding around in a wingsuit. It’s a breathtaking experience that sets players up for the actual game, which releases on Dec. 1, and those lucky enough to pre-order the game from Tesco Direct got a custom Google Cardboard for free.
Get a FREE Google Cardboard when you pre-order Just Cause 3 only at Tesco Direct – while stocks lasts! https://t.co/pFb7zR1sOB
— Just Cause (@justcause) November 24, 2015
Mockingjay, Insurgent, Warcraft and Other Movies
Fantastic worlds, especially dystopian ones like seen in The Hunger Games and Divergent movies, are great to watch but you wouldn’t actually want to go there … unless it’s in virtual reality. That’s where apps like Mockingjay VR and Insurgent: Shattered Reality come in. Both promote their respective movies by taking audiences to these dangerous sci-fi worlds with 360-degree viewing experiences. Fans can visit iconic locations, and in the case of Insurgent, see the world through the eyes of a character as she goes through her own adventure. Other movie promotion VR apps include Insidious VR, which promoted last June’s horror movie, Insidious: Chapter 3. Then there’s Legendary VR, which showcases a number of inside-movie experiences, such as stepping into a Pacific Rim Jaeger (a giant robot), or riding a gryphon over Stormwind City to promote the upcoming Warcraft movie.
The Netflix VR app takes meta to an all-new level. Using the app, viewers can watch movies and television streamed to their Samsung Gear VR from a luxurious virtual living room, complete with monster sized Netflix branding and a 110-inch television, all from the comfort of your (presumably) less impressive living room. Given time, perhaps more environments will become available for the app. In the meantime, other streaming services like Twitch, Hulu, Tivo and many more will be releasing their own Gear VR apps, all with varying features and functionality, ensuring that your home will always be the coolest place to be.
— Oculus (@oculus) September 24, 2015
The online social meeting space is still in its beta testing phase, but it will soon become a virtual destination for likeminded people to come together, communicate and even get in a few games of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s being developed for a number of platforms, including the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or plain old computer monitor screen. While it’s still a work in progress, there’s a great deal of marketing potential around this kind of virtual meeting space, including setting up themed rooms for movie and game promotions.