Best Buy Adds Virtual Reality to 500 Stores
Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy Co., fell in love with Virtual Reality after almost being eaten by a shark. Not a real shark of course, a virtual reality one, he referred to the experience as “mind boggling.”
Oculus Rift and VR Going Mainstream Thanks to Best Buy
Joly is betting that Best Buy’s customers will adore the new technology, and he’s betting big. The rollout of Oculus Rift headsets started in May, but by the holiday shopping season 500 stores will have the Oculus VR headsets for demonstration. This is definitely the first mainstream test of a virtual reality product in the world. The company is also showing 200 demonstrations of Sony’s PlayStation VR, which are rotating between locations. The PlayStation VR will launch in October
Best Buy is clearly waging on VR headsets as the next favorite Christmas’ gift, by attracting more people than the usual early adopters. The chain is aiming at those big-box shoppers who spend big bucks in electronics. But this is not only for the sake of Virtual Reality of course, Best Buy is eager to lift its sales during a time when other gadgets are losing their attractiveness.
“It’s going to be really cool and fun for our customers”
Said Hubert Joly
Oculus Rift Has One Little Problem
More than a problem, it’s an obstacle for mass adoption of the virtual reality technology: it’s costly. VR headsets costs hundreds of dollars, and people might not be willing to spend this much in a VR headset as they are when it comes to smartphones.
Even so, this mainstream test could prove to be a major success both for Best Buy and the many companies and startups that are investing heavily in VR technology. Virtual Reality can actually become the next product category inside the stores and attract many new customers.
But the adoption of VR technology needs a big commitment from consumers, like the one Apple has with its fans. VR headsets are not only expensive on its own (Best Buy sells the Oculus Rift for $600), they also require powerful computers to work appropriately. So users would have to first upgrade their old PC’s or buy new ones, having to spend hundreds of dollars more.
VR Headsets Will Mainly Appeal To Gamers
Right now, most of early adopters are videogame players, and that can become a marketing issue for Best Buy and VR companies. If only gamers are buying the headset, other consumers could feel alienated and the mainstream acceptance would be slower. But if Best Buy is betting so confidently on this, it’s because they know something other don’t know… yet.
Virtual reality has more chances of being the next ‘big thing’ in technology than many other gadgets. There are already a fair amount of competitors in the VR headset market; with Samsung, Sony, Facebook, HTC, and even Google investing loads of money in this promising technology. Mass adoption of Virtual Reality looks every day more like a reality, the thing is, nobody knows yet when exactly will it happen.