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Virtual Reality Ads – Which Tech Giant Comes Out On Top?

Virtual Reality hit another mainstream milestone this month thanks to the launch of Sony’s PlayStation VR.

The new consumer headset is able to connect to any of the roughly 40 million PlayStation 4s currently in the wild, and has the potential to propel the technology towards the mass market this festive season.

But one of the biggest challenges facing virtual reality hardware manufacturers right now is how do you show people, and sell people, on the power and awesomeness of VR?

It’s an absorbing, immersive technology that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to traditional video ads – especially gaming ones.

From the outset it seems that VR hardware ads fall into 2 categories. The first is to try and show you all the experiences available, blasting from scenario to scenario using in-game footage. The second category focuses almost exclusively on the hardware – it’s design, materials etc.

To really dig into the question we’ve taken a look at 4 of the latest ads for all the major VR headsets, including the latest campaign to be produced for the PlayStation VR.


1. PlayStation VR – Live The Game (8/10)

This latest ad from PlayStation continues the brand’s ‘for the players’ tagline and attitude. Using some clever visual tricks, the ad blends reality and in-game footage to convey the immersiveness of VR. It’s a novel way to show off the product, and we do get a good look at the headset itself near the end of the ad. The spot quickly explains the appeal of VR, as well as showing off some of the product’s exclusive features, and is a perfect fit for the consumer-friendly angle Sony is going for.


2. HTC – Introducing The Vive (7/10)

In contrast to Sony’s colourful and bombastic ad, HTC produced a more serious and sleek video for the launch of the Vive earlier this year. The spot skips through some dramatic, slow-motion scenes of different people in different realities – and although the concept is similar, the effect is totally different to the punchy cuts and emotive scenes in Playstation’s spot. We get a similarly sombre view of the headset too, as it slowly spins on a black background.


3. Oculus – Step into Rift (6/10)

This ad from Oculus for its Rift headset follows a similar set-up to the other two spots, although we see the actual hardware a lot earlier on. Plus a lot of the footage is actual ‘in-game’ visuals. The video resembles more traditional gaming ads because of this, and actually does a great job of running through all the various games available on Oculus’ storefront – arguably the product’s strongest feature.


4. Google – Introducing Daydream View (8/10)


The latest entry in the VR headset race, Google’s Daydream View aims to deliver on the promise of the Samsung Gear VR and deliver a mobile virtual reality experience at a reasonable price point. This ad for the hardware focuses entirely on its design and material build, highlighting areas ignored by other manufacturers – namely, comfort.


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