Clients routinely ask our advice when selecting the VR platform for their experience – expecting a trade-off between immersion and reach. At this point, there are several platforms available:
  • PC-based VR Platforms (HTC Vive and Oculus Rift) provide high-fidelity experiences, room-scale and multiple, six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) controllers. But this comes with a limited audience due to a combination of cost and technical complexity.  Recent upgrades in wireless capabilities are improving usage, but the need for a powerful PC and cost remain the same. Sony’s PSVR is actually leading the pack in sales in this category, given that it actually runs through the PS4 rather than a souped-up PC. 
  • Mobile VR like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream have the power to deliver engaging experiences wirelessly but do so at the expense of visual fidelity, being locked to a single place spatially and typically only one controller limited to three-degrees-of-freedom. Because these platforms are built on mobile devices, the audience is significantly larger and more diverse. While standalone headsets are making waves in 2018 (the Lenovo Mirage Solo and Oculus Go, to name a few), they still require a sizeable investment on the consumer’s end. 
  • Google Cardboard is an inexpensive add-on to almost any modern device, but it is very limited with respect to interactivity and performance. However, due to the near-ubiquitous support across devices and low cost, hundreds of millions of users already have devices. After all, you can even make one yourself. There are more Google Cardboard headsets in the wild than all other headsets combined – with a potential reach equal to all handsets sold in the past 4-5 years.
  • Facebook 360/YouTube 360 and similar sites that feature 360° video provide no interactivity and are limited to native resolutions, but benefit from truly massive audiences.

Tiered Distribution

Rather than selecting a single platform, Banjo helps our customers find the right mix of immersion and addressable audience that can deliver the results they want – even if it spans multiple platforms. For example, a single event may not warrant a $50,000 to $100,000 investment to build a PC-based VR experience, but if we simultaneously down-scale that experience to Mobile VR, Cardboard and even 360° Video, we drive additional engagement from the Mobile VR App Stores while creating assets for social media engagement far beyond the event. This allows the single investment to drive millions of impressions – while supporting an amazing high-end experience at the event.

We’ve Done the Hard Work

Banjo has developed a set of libraries that abstract controls, room scale, and other platform-specific components so that we don’t need to significantly re-engineer the experience to port to the other VR platforms. The engineering team has also developed a drop-in virtual 360° camera that allows high-resolution recording for distribution via Cardboard/Facebook 360/YouTube 360.

As an example, Banjo created a VR training simulation for OSHA’s Lock-Out-Tag-Out, safety procedure allowing users to practice and solidify recall before certification/sign-off. To drive immersion in the simulation, the experience was built initially for the HTC Vive. The prebuilt controller abstraction allowed us – with minimal new effort – to deliver the training to Mobile VR platforms as well. To create a Cardboard-friendly, 360° 4K walkthrough of the Vive experience, we recorded a third-person view that could even allow a choose-your-own-adventure version with very little additional work. Now, anyone can experience the simulation in VR, even if they don’t have access to an HTC Vive – all without significant incremental expense beyond the original production cost.

As a result, you don’t have to compromise – put your budget to work building amazing experiences AND deliver to audiences across platforms that represent hundreds of millions of users.

360Comparison
The Training Simulation from First and Third Person Perspective.