Distributing VR content is the last step in virtual reality creation. Though often overlooked, it’s one of the most important and unexpectedly complicated steps. It’s critical to approach VR distribution in a strategic way to maximize the impact of the media you’ve created.
With that in mind, we created a guide to the main VR headsets and distribution methods. It’s worth checking out if you’re new to VR or curious about the industry as a whole.
Today’s posting though is more of a worksheet on how to approach the act of distributing VR. As with most things in tech, the 80-20 rule applies. In the case, 80% of your time should be spent examining your target audience and what their needs are. And 20% of the time will actually be spent on the act of publishing and distributing.
Decide Who Your Audience Is
This might sound obvious, but it’s not. For instance, clients will say “I want to create a training app.” That’s great! But you have to decide who you are training — new employees, existing employees, partners, etc. Different audiences will have different needs, both in terms of content and how it is presented to them.
You also need to know the location of your audience. For instance, if you’re not going to be in close physical proximity to the end user, high powered VR headsets like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift might not make sense, since they’re not portable. If the audience is sales people, perhaps you’ll want to publish to both a VR headset and allow them to show WebVR on something like an iPad Pro, since not everyone will want to put on a headset.
Decide on What VR Platform/Headset is Best for that Audience
As a continuation of the first step, you’ll have to procure the right hardware to show off your VR apps created using InstaVR. If you have a large geographically disparate audience, and budget is of great concern, you’ll probably want to use something like an entry-level low-cost platform like Google Cardboard.
If you have higher budget, and a smaller audience, and need long-form VR (more than 2 GB in size), you’re a good candidate for Gear VR, Oculus Go, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
Also, your headset decision will be informed by if you’re using images or video. For instance, an easy distribution method for a small application made up exclusively of 360 images is WebVR, allowing users to select Dual-View if they have a headset. But if you’re using 360 video, as we’ve discussed previously, your much better off creating a Native VR app since the FPS (frame rate per second) on native apps is better than WebVR.
Do a Test App on the Chosen VR Platform/Headset
Well before you plan to actually distribute your app, you’ll want to create a test app to see if your planned VR experience is feasible on the headset. Go through the steps as if you’re the end user, to see what accessing, downloading, and running the application will be like.
If you’re going to publish to iTunes or Google Play, you’ll definitely want to try out the app as InHouse before you bother uploading your Certificate for the final version. We have a great Live Previewer feature that shows your in-progress app on iOS/Android/Gear VR. But you do still want to fully package up a couple test apps so you can see what the app icon, splash screen image/movie, and home screen look like and feel like.
Create VR Packages!
One of the great benefits of using InstaVR is we don’t charge you per app packaged. So you can publish to multiple platforms and do multiple iterations without having to worry about incurring additional costs.
You don’t really want to package at the last minute. You can buy a Pro add-on feature allowing for multiple packages to be created at the same time (Parallel Packaging). But even still, you’ll want the packages ready days before they have to be pushed out to the audience.
Promote Your VR Application
Publishing your VR app intuitively seems like the last step. But it’s not. In fact, promoting the VR app is a crucial step. If it’s for iTunes or Google Play, for example, you can create a WebVR version that can linked to via Facebook preview which you can promote on that social network.
But even if your VR app is only for internal use, you’ll need to get others excited for it, to make sure you get max potential value. I highly suggest you read our InstaVR Interviews page to see how other InstaVR users are promoting their work. To give you a few examples:
–TUI Group puts Gear VRs at the desks of their excursion team members to start conversations with their clients
–Zimmer Biomet Dental created a large visual of their VR application to entice people at trade shows to stop by and learn about their company on the Oculus Rift
-Students at German University in Cairo pre-loaded iPhones and Androids to show off their Historical Cairo app to other students on Google Cardboards
We’re big proponents of starting with the end in mind. Never pick up your 360 camera for a big project without first thinking about who your audience is and how they would best benefit from viewing your work. Film your project with your audience’s viewing method in mind. So much work will go into actually capturing the media and authoring the app. All of that will be wasted if your distribution method isn’t well thought out and executed.
Best of luck on all your VR projects!