Virtual Reality was once a sci-fi dream. Films like Tron, The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix sold us the idea that you could be immersed into another world, interact with computer programs, battle on light cycles and dodge bullets.

Jump forward to now and some of those things are a reality.

When VR began to make its mainstream debut in homes, or was at least beamed into homes via gamers on YouTube, it was predominantly lead by the Oculus Rift Development Kits and an extremely large amount of low-quality horror games.

When they surfaced in this form, the consensus was that it was a fad. Doomed to the same fate as Planking, Loom Bands and Fidget Spinners.

But now headsets are available in many forms from HTC, Sony, Oculus, Microsoft, Google and Samsung, and at multiple price points. The higher end headsets require a computer to run the software but at the lower end of the spectrum they require only your smartphone/tablet.

The thing that you and billions of other people have in your hand every day is VR ready. What a potential audience to have for a marketing campaign.

Google is playing a large part in smartphone VR. Aside from their Cardboard and Daydream headsets, 360 video has been available since 2015 on YouTube and has gone from something fun you can navigate with your phone/mouse to immersive experiences you can strap to your face.

VR can transport you anywhere in the world and while you’re there you can experience almost anything. It can immerse you in a story or just entertain you. It’s a storytelling medium that shouldn’t be ignored.

Recently I’ve seen a rise in movie and TV studios producing ‘VR experiences’ to tie in upcoming releases, particularly the horror genre. Whether they be paid higher budget games for the PC VR market or 360 experiences created just for YouTube, they’re forming part of a new wave of marketing strategy.

My focus this year will be to take my animation and video work into 3D and VR. I love me some storytelling and creating some immersive experiences is right up there on my to-do list.

Plus it’ll be fun to watch everyone in the office look a little stupid with a headset on.

Virtual reality gif

Still reading? Here are some VR experiences you can enjoy on your phone, with or without a headset:

1. 360 Google Spotlight Story: HELP

2. IT: FLOAT

3. The LEGO Batman Movie – Batmersive VR Experience

4. Pac-Man in 360°

5. GoPro VR: Skydiving with GoPro Bombsquad