Why VR events like the OnePlus 3 launch are here to stay

One thing is for sure, VR is now mainstream. So mainstream that OnePlus just launched their latest phone in Virtual reality.


By Jaison Lewis

Despite the awful virtual reality launch of the OnePlus 3, I still think it is the future of mass events and launches.

Virtual reality used to be in the domain of science fiction, but now it is more accessible and affordable than ever. There is the HTC Vive and Oculus that are on the high end spectrum of things and the low-cost Google Cardboard clones on the other end. Regardless of your headset of choice, one thing is for sure, VR is now mainstream. So mainstream that OnePlus just launched their latest phone in virtual reality. If you watched it, you know it was a complete disaster. The launch was not as interesting as a real press conference. Rather it made you download a 600MB interactive video, and then had you searching around a supposed outer space OnePlus research facility.

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This was so badly done that we would have settled for watching a live launch event. It was a wasted opportunity that has managed to solidify my belief that this is the next-gen of conferences and launches. Just sit at home, no need to travel to a far off destination to watch a launch. It really speaks to the lazy person in all of us. There is still a huge untapped potential here that needs exploring. Imagine your favourite phone is launching in Las Vegas, but you neither have the money to go there nor the time; no problem, slip on a Cardboard or an Oculus and you have the best seat in the house.

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This is where today’s press conference should have gone. Instead, we got a hazy blue Pete Lau, telling us about the phone and asking us to check out its features in his make believe R&D centre. Makes me wonder if the real one is too depressing, with Chinese workers living and making the phone in the same facility, never leaving. Since I didn’t see the real one, my imagination always takes me to the most depressing scenario. Why is Lau a hazy hologram in VR? If there is any place holograms have to work right, it is in the virtual world where real world rules don’t apply.

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The app didn’t work well for me. I heard constant radio static as events occurred around me and the narrator tried to speak over it. Instead of this manufactured virtual launch, OnePlus should have just mounted a 360-degree camera on a seat in an auditorium. I would have totally enjoyed watching that.

If you have doubts on how enjoyable that would be, have a look on YouTube for 360-degree concerts. They are amazing. You have the best view and you can look all around. Some even have you on stage!

I certainly think it would be cheaper than this instant delete, 600MB turd.

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The idea of a VR event is a step in the right direction though. There are both monetary and environmental benefits to this, which eventually most companies will pick up on. Let’s start with monetary, co-ordination for such an event is minimal. You don’t have to tell people how to reach the venue, you don’t have to hire a security detail, you don’t need to feed anyone and you can fit the largest of crowds in the smallest of auditoriums, heck make it an office.

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The environmental gains are simple; no crowd means no fuel being used to transport them, minimum electricity being used to power the venue and no garbage. Mother Gaia thanks you.

OnePlus has broken ground in VR events and others will follow – it is probably the only good to come out of their disastrous OnePlus 3 launch.

The entire launch can be seen here, starting at the elevator and ending with a purchase of the OnePlus 3.


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