Companies may be touting VR's ability to bring a potential customer in their content, the fact remains that not that many people own the headsets. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asserted that he believed that "this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people" in a Facebook post announcing the purchase of Occulus, but that day hasn't come.
At the TechCrunch Beijing Summit on Nov. 1, CNET reported that HTC chief content officer Phil Chen said he thinks it will still take three to five years before VR becomes a mass medium. Still, Chen projected that there would be about a billion headsets sold in the next seven to eight years.
There are other issues, LaCivita points out. There's currently no hub like a Netflix for VR content, although many companies, like Milk VR, NextVR and Vrdeo, are attempting to be that platform.
Sacchi believes the consumers will come. Facebook is backing Oculus. Google has enabled 360-degree VR content on YouTube, and is giving away its Cardboard holder — which allows people to watch VR content as long as they download an app on their smartphone — for free. Others are working on ways to view the content without headsets on your phones, which will take away that "dork" factor, Sacchi added.
Right now, LaCivita believes the biggest problem is that there isn't a lot of VR content for people to consume. He said smart brands are realizing that if they start creating content now, they can become the go-to-name in VR content since there are so few media companies now. Brands can only win by getting ahead of the game because a VR future is inevitable.
"Nobody wants to buy a gaming console and just have one or two games to play," said LaCivita. "Brands have an opportunity to create interesting and immersive content in the space. They should worry about that and not about the number of headsets that are going to be sold."
The folks at Pepsi agree.
"The power of virtual reality is in giving PepsiCo a way to engage with its consumers on a much deeper level, immersing them 100 percent with cutting-edge experiences that places them everywhere and anywhere — from Dale Jr.'s driver's seat, to being in the shoes of Bryce Harper at the plate and even on the streets of Lima, Peru, experiencing community work that aims to make the world better," Furlow said. "We believe that we'll continue to see more and more consumers engaging with virtual reality and the introduction of new equipment and opportunities that will make the immersive experiences accessible for the masses."