First Impressions Are Everything

This post is about people’s first experience using VR.

Most people hate their first encounter with VR. Maybe not HATE. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But if it was a blind Tinder date between tester and headset, I don’t think headset usually gets asked back out. Why? Why doesn’t anybody want to hand headset a ring after their first date? It’s not that headset isn’t cool. Headset is all over the news. Everybody’s talking about headset. Headset can relax you after a long day. Headset can surprise you when you need adventure. Headset can bring tears to your eyes and cause change in policy. Headset can help you overcome fears. So what? Who cares about any of these things that Headset can possibly do when Headset can’t even make a good first impression.

To begin, most people who are trying headsets on are being thrust into a device which was personally configured for the device’s owner. This means that while the owner can simply pop the headset on, the person they’re showing the device to needs to first move the straps around so that it sits well, focus the eye pieces so that it’s not blurry. In fact, many people don’t know this and just watch a blurry video their first time and think, “Ehh VR is too blurry. The tech’s not there yet.” Obviously they aren’t going back for more. Telling their friends about it. Deciding to drop their next five million dollar feature film into this medium. Executives are the WORST to convince. They are investors who like proven concepts. Who have tried-and-tested platforms and a decent sense of security. Give them an uncomfortable experience in VR and then show them some interactive game where they first have to learn all these hand controls, and forgetaboutit. Headset might have enormous potential, but Headset just knocked over their water and chewed with its mouth open at the dinner table and shot its load before the person had a chance to even order.

Headset needs to be trained. Or rather, Headset demos and proctors need to be trained better. First off, there’s absolutely no reason Headset needs to blow his load in the first five minutes. Buyers will tell you that when their Headset comes in the packaging, it is very easy to turn the thing on, get inside of it, and then it walks you through all the procedures to become acclimated with the controls and adjust the comfort settings, like straps and blurriness. This is no quick job. This is a 15-20 minute ordeal, or longer. But it’s effective. It works. Because slow and steady wins the race. “Hey there, user. This is your pilot speaking. Take a moment to acknowledge those buttons above your eyebrow. Feel them? They are your volume controls. Feel that bump above your nose? That will focus the screen if it looks a little blurry. Take some time to make yourself comfortable. When you are ready to learn about the controllers, let me know.” This is an essential part of the experience. The on-boarding. You can’t jump straight into the sack without wining and dining your guest first. That’s just not reality. Yet. Maybe once everybody has already dated and accepted Headset, they will be happy to jump into their old familiar missionary position as soon as they walk in the door after work, but Headset needs to earn his right to sit on that person’s coffee table first.