How 'The Chicken and Egg Dilemma' of Live VR will be solved and what it means for the industry.
When talking about Virtual Reality we often hear about ‘The Chicken and Egg Dilemma’. It describes the vicious circle between lack of VR content and lack of VR audience: On the one hand, there won’t be mass consumer adoption of VR without good VR content. On the other hand, there will also not be any investment into VR content production without a potential audience for its consumption. Very simply: No audience without content and no content without an audience. The same applies to Live VR. Hurdles for the consumption as well as the production of Live VR are high. However, the introduction of support for Live 360 by major platforms has the potential to finally break the vicious circle.
All main US video platforms now support Live VR streaming. It started with YouTube announcing their new player in April 2016. Facebook followed in December 2016 with a closed beta, while Twitterannounced their solution around the end of that same month. In March 2017, Facebook officially opened the gates to all content creators, letting them start to seamlessly publish Live 360 content. This wide adoption of Live 360 by platforms that reach billions of monthly active users is a significant catalyst for the entire Virtual Reality industry. Here are 5 key reasons why:
Certainty of a Large Audience
Platforms sent a clear signal to content creators – from YouTubers to large media companies – that there will be an audience watching their content. Users are no longer required to own an expensive headset to enjoy richer media experiences. 360 videos are indeed viewable through a regular mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. And on top of that, platforms are currently strongly pushing the distribution of Live, ensuring that a large audience will see your video in their news feed.
Introduction of Regular Monetization Options
Advertising and transactions become instantly possible through social platforms. YouTube, for instance, is pushing graphical advertising on its 360 player. Besides, many VR solutions are now offering the possibility to integrate additional graphics and videos within the 360 sphere. Increasing capability of doing multi-camera setups with industry standard switchers such as the Blackmagic Atem line further facilitates the insertion of advertising content.
3. High Investment in Mobile VR
Key players like Samsung and Google have invested massively in mobile VR. Samsung announced a new generation of VR phones and headsets which are likely to bring the current market size of mobile headset way above 10 million units, mobile VR being certainly the main driving factor for spreading the consumption of VR content to the masses.
4. Affordability of Live VR Production
Consumption is one side of the coin, creation is the other. The production of Live VR content becomes a lot easier and cheaper as platforms ensure their Live 360 products work with professional and consumer solutions alike. Many cameras offer direct integration with YouTube or Facebook Live for the most seamless workflow. Additionally, Live stitching software such as Vahana VR enables you to go live with any camera rig you’ve been using for VR post-production without having to invest in new equipment. Lastly, there is no longer a requirement to use additional professional CDNs and custom solutions to do Live VR as you can simply stream to YouTube and the like.
5. The End of ‘The Chicken and Egg Dilemma
With the help of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc., the VR conundrum, a.k.a The Chicken And Egg Problem is about to be solved: As production costs are decreasing and reach of, as well as consumption by a large audience are secured via social networks, creators are putting forward the first layer of 360 content. Once the global library of available 360 content reaches a tipping point in terms of quantity and quality, users will be incentivized to invest more towards the next and richer experience: the immersive viewing experience. This will mark the official launch of Virtual Reality as a mass medium.