Google reveals Cardboard virtual reality numbers, and VR films are the surprise winner
IMAGE: SCOTT ROBERSON, THE DAILY JOURNAL /ASSOCIATED PRESS
BY ADARIO STRANGE
JAN 27, 2016
Just one day after we highlighted Google's apparent interest in creating virtual reality hardware, the company came out on Wednesday to refocus attention on Google Cardboard by revealing some numbers around its adoption rate.
Since the debut of the VR device just over a year and a half ago, 5 million Cardboard devices have been shipped, some branded as Google products and many others as branded devices from the likes of the SyFy channel, Visa, Lowe's, The New York Times and the Star Wars franchise, just to name a few.
And the software side of the equation is pretty robust as well, with roughly 25 million Google Cardboard apps downloaded by users from the Google Play app store. But the interesting thing about that number is that, according to Google, about 10 million of those downloads occurred between October and December 2015, meaning that new interest in VR is beginning to spike.
But what kinds of VR apps were users downloading? That's where things get interesting. Naturally, the top app is a game, Chair in a Room. Most tracking VR adoption expect that gaming will be a key driver of the platform's rise. But the real surprise is the fact that the second most downloaded Cardboard app is Vrse, an app primarily dedicated to delivering VR films the real surprise is the fact that the second most downloaded Cardboard app is Vrse, an app primarily dedicated to delivering VR films. That will likely come as great news for the growing number of production companies in New York and Los Angeles devoting ever more resources to VR-centric video productions.
However, gaming is clearly the overall winner in the VR category when it comes to Cardboard, with the remaining three slots in the top five being occupied by gaming apps.
The stats were shared by Clay Bavor, the Google executive who recently shifted from his role as vice president of product management to focus on Google's VR efforts as the vice president of virtual reality.
Bavor also revealed that more than 350,000 hours of YouTube's VR videos have been watched, a number that hints that the popular video sharing service could be a major distributor of VR content in the coming months and years.
And while experiences like VR tours are being touted by some studies as potential big drivers of VR adoption, the number of users trying out Google's virtual tourism and educational field trip program Expeditions appears relatively conservative at around 500,000 students identified as using the service.
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