‘Wow to Watch’
With these updates, and better headsets, NextVR appears to be on a clear path toward moving users from, as Cole puts it, “wow to watch.” Meaning: from curious novelty to regular viewership, a hurdle which 3DTV never surmounted.
One major missing element for getting from ‘wow to watch’—which I’ve probably brought up with Cole during every interview throughout the years—is the ability to watch content with friends. Right now NextVR is a completely solo experience; if you’re watching football, soccer, boxing, racing, or anything else, you’re doing it alone.
While not ready to talk about their approach to social viewing just yet, Cole did say that the company has “very big plans,” and teased that they are planning to start talking about those plans very soon.
When I asked how important the company believed social viewing functionality to be, Cole said they were unsure, but hopeful. “I’m inspired by [the social draw of] VRChat,” he said.
As for traction, the company had previously only been available on mobile VR headsets, but finally launched on some tethered headsets (PSVR and Windows VR) in late 2017. Cole said the company was especially surprised and encouraged by the reception of the NextVR content among PSVR users. Across platforms, the company has seen some 650,000 downloads, with users averaging 18.2 minutes of live content, he said.
As for why the company still hasn’t released apps for the two major PC VR headsets (the Rift and the Vive), Cole said there were a “bunch of factors,” and further, “I do hope to see a client from us at least on the Vive Pro, but we aren’t officially announcing anything.”