Virtual reality (VR) has created a lot of excitement in leading tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Samsung, as well as early-stage startups and users like Fox Broadcasting and the NY Times. However, while VR has a lot to promise, it remains unclear how people can actually use VR and whether today’s VR technology can meet user needs. In this report, we analyze the more than 40 VR use cases deployed today. We found content complexity and the level of interaction are the two key dimensions, and categorized them into four categories – 2D image/video, real-time processed 3D video, virtual exploration, and full immersion. We then analyzed the display and ease of use for VR hardware and the nearly 100 VR headsets, which include both smartphone-based and those with built-in displays, and found that while Oculus Rift stands out as the best device with a built-in display on the market today, emerging devices like Sulon Q and Star VR are poised to beat it out. In addition, for smartphone-based headsets, while Samsung Gear VR grabs the most attention, Pinch VR and Freefly VR perform better in terms of ease of use and display, respectively.
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