Business VR Is Rocket Fuel For Consumer VR
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
When I talked with VC in the early days of modern VR, meaning just five or six years ago, many were mesmerized by the imagined riches of consumer VR. And huge sums of money were wasted on a technology that wasn’t there yet. VR for business (including VR for government) was seen as a small backwater.
Today a lot has changed. Consumer VR is here thanks largely to Meta. B2B has come into its own and investment has followed. But I still believe the potential of business and government focused VR is undervalued, especially by those who want consumer VR to succeed. The B2C and B2B worlds are seen as separate other than the VR hardware needed for both, but the two are inherently symbiotic.
Business and government VR will play a key role for consumer VR. Many consumers' first experience with VR will be at work or in school. That experience will be the motivating factor for them to spend a few hundred dollars on their own personal VR headset. Millions of people each year enter the workforce and they all receive training, whether they are designing a new gene therapy or working at a fast food restaurant. Tens of millions every year receive continuing education and training. And there are 70 million students in the US learning new things every day.
For the price of one AAA video game, VR content could be created for students, healthcare professionals, first responders and those in vocational jobs from plumbing to aircraft maintenance and more. Right now content for all these groups is sparse. In very few cases is there enough content to support a full training or education program. For example, a student can dissect a frog in VR, but what about the other four months of biology class?
The relative low cost of developing a large library of content across numerous educational, professional and vocational fields is nothing compared to the opportunity to bring tens of millions of individuals into t
he VR experience. And every educational and training session can and should be an opportunity to show how VR is unlike any other learning medium they’ve tried. Students can visit space or the Egyptian pyramids, but a plumber can do the same as a reward for successfully fixing a broken pipe. If VR content is done right, regardless of its primary purpose, it leaves us wanting more.
There are many avenues that will lead VR to become part of our everyday lives. The experiences we have in our work and educational lives will make an enormous contribution to that inevitability.