Assignment 2: Dyer, Blum, Chen (Samsung GearVR)

The Samsung GearVR is a virtual reality headset that is powered by Oculus, one of the leading companies developing immersive VR technology today. The GearVR is compatible with several Samsung mobile phones, and provides users the opportunity to play a number of 3D video games, view videos, and much more. The GearVR is unique because of its modest price tag of $99.99 (excluding a Samsung phone), compared to other similar products, such as the HTC Vive, which was made available for pre-order earlier this week for $799.99.

Based off of the reactions we received from several test subjects, there are two primary shortcomings, primarily the ability to walk and move around. Users had desired to be able to walk and move around in certain apps (such as Google Street View), but currently the GearVR technology does not allow for that. The second complaint test subjects had was the lack of diversity in apps; many people we had test the device wish they had a greater selection of applications to choose from. Granted, this is not a problem with the device – there are more apps available for purchase on the store – but there is still a small selection of apps given how new the technology is.

To test the device we had various people try on the headset and directed them on the basic functionality of the device. From there we had people try out one or two of the applications (primarily Netflix and Google Street View). Most users wore and tested out the headset for roughly 10 minutes each. Most users were blown away by the technology and clearly had not used a VR headset before. All of the users enjoyed the experience and were highly intrigued by the technology.

Users liked how realistic and immersive the technology was, but, as noted above, the two main dislikes were the inability to walk around and the lack of apps.

The new product concept we are proposing to build with this new technology is a revolutionary, cutting edge way to watch and experience live sporting events. Court-side basketball tickets can cost thousands of dollars, and field level seats for NFL games can get even more expensive than that. But using the Samsung GearVR  and 360 camera technology, users would be able to “sit court-side” and view sporting events from the best seat in the house, all while sitting on their couch at home. By placing 360 camera rigs at the midline and baselines of NBA stadiums, sporting events could be live streamed straight to the Samsung GearVR headset, allowing users to view games as if they were sitting court-side. Additionally, by using more than one 360 camera rig, users would be able to alternate between camera angles, allowing them to view the game from whichever view they see fit.

The target market for this concept would be sports fans. Given how recent the technology is, engaged sports fans would be the primary consumers of the technology, but as it expands we could advertise and market to more casual sports fans as well. At the heart of this concept is making the sports television experience more immersive. Very few people get the opportunity to sit court-side for NBA basketball games or on the field level for NFL games, but there are tens of millions of people in the United States that regularly watch both of those sports, and even more people across the globe. This technology would be the next step in making the sports television experience more immersive, and would provide viewers with a unique opportunity for viewing their favorite sporting events. One of the benefits of this concept is that there is no ceiling for it – there is a vast array of sporting events, and even non-sporting events, that could be broadcasted using this concept. There would likely also need to be a way to make renting or owning a Samsung VR device more obtainable than the current $800 value.

The assumption that we are making for this given solution and concept is that users want a new way to watch sporting events. Possible data we would need to collect for this concept include the number of people that regularly watch, for example, NBA basketball games, as well as the number of people that own Samsung GearVR headsets (or other similar technology). Additionally, data regarding how familiar people are with VR technology would also be beneficial if it existed.