To be honest, my expectations were pretty low.
The device was only $6.99 on Amazon.
That’s no mistake. The decimal is in the right place. Seven bucks. That’s all.
Yet it’s setting up to be a primary catalyst for the next major technological revolution.
We’re talking something big here too.
One tech research firm expects it to grow from $3 billion this year to $150 billion by 2020.
It’s caught the attention of -- and billions of dollars from -- Microsoft, IBM, Google, Facebook, and dozens more.
Who really knows though? Especially you don’t try it. And for $7 there was nothing to lose.
So I bought one and gave it a try.
Here’s what I found.
This Ain’t No 3-D TV
The Japanese zeros wouldn’t stop coming.
There’s one a few hundred yards off the port side. Got him.
Wait, now there’s one coming Kamikaze-style from directly above me. Such a small target...got him.
Now two from behind. Got one…GAME OVER.
That’s how it went for about 30 minutes while I tried one of the latest and highest rated Virtual Reality (VR) video games.
It was a pretty straightforward game. The player is an anti-aircraft gunner in World War II. Japanese fighter planes were trying to fly into your ship. Wherever you looked -- left, right, front, back, up -- the gun shot.
It was all really easy to play, painless to set, and couldn’t get much cheaper.
All you needed were three things.
First, you need a device called Google Cardboard. You can go ultra-high end and spend up to $10 on pre-cut corrugated cardboard. Or you can make your own at home.
Here’s a picture of it:
The second thing you need is a smartphone.
You put the smartphone inside the cardboard set up and view it through the lenses.
A Samsung Galaxy or any other phone which runs Google’s Android mobile operating system made in the last two or three years has the speed to run VR programs and give you full access to 360-degree worlds with stuff in front, behind, above, and below you.
The third you need is a bit of time.
For me, the “all in” time from when the Amazon package arrived, to folding the device up, to downloading the app, to my first kill was about 15 minutes.
I can attest it was fun and I’m not much of a gamer at all.
More importantly though, this experience taught me why VR is going to be absolutely massive.
Five Million Users And Counting...
Again, I had my doubts.
But after this experience, I can confidently tell you VR is going to be absolutely massive.
It will effect the entertainment and gaming industries, sure. But it’s also going into healthcare, office productivity, and so much more.
It’s a limitless technology with years of growth and development ahead of it.
And, best of all, it’s happening right now.
According to the Google Play Store, the Google Cardboard app has been downloaded onto at least five million devices.
A number of Cardboard specific apps are catching on too. The Star Wars VR app has been downloaded at least 500,000 times already since the latest move came out less than three months ago.
Youtube videos can now be viewed through Google Cardboard too. It let’s you watch almost any video in 3-D.
Perhaps biggest of all though, it’s about to get a major leap forward in the next few weeks.
You see, the Oculus Rift VR headset is schedule for release on March 28th. Oculus Rift is the device that Facebook purchased for $2.5 billion.
You can bet it’s going to get a lot of attention once the Zuckerberg PR machine fires up and Facebook reaches out to its 1.3 billion users.
It’s going to get very big, very quickly.
But in the end, this is all really simple.
You have a new technology with endless applications, backed by the world’s largest tech companies, having specific applications built for it by the likes of Disney, and has already attracted millions of users even though it’s still very new.
That’s a recipe for success and, for investors, years of growth and profits ahead.
If you want to be in the biggest growth story of the next five years, VR is it.