Zoom parties are so five weeks ago: hello virtual reality

  • VR Premium
  • Tuesday, 21 Apr 2020

Consumers have adopted all kinds of new behaviours during the shutdown, and some will no doubt stick. There are Zoom happy hours. People are cooking more and realising they like it. Millions have evolved into work-from-home experts. A whole movement around DIY nail salons has emerged. And VR has a good shot to win more fans. — Reuters

Like millions of small businesses, Kenneth Dunning’s company crashed last month. His main offering – renting out virtual-reality equipment for events like team building – didn’t make sense during social distancing, and corporate customers cancelled en masse.

But thankfully for Dunning, the pandemic has also bored millions. With coronavirus mitigation making gatherings and travel taboo, his company, Philadelphia-based Virtual Reality for Rent, is staying afloat by filling the growing demand for entertainment beyond Netflix. He’s now mailing out about 60 VR Oculus headsets (made by Facebook Inc) a week to individuals, a seven-fold jump from before the outbreak. The technology allows kids to visit carnivals, while twenty-somethings can dance at a club with strangers from around the world.

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