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February 05, 2018

How to Develop Your VR Product

For many decades, VR has struggled to become a reality. Now, it seems virtual reality has advanced to the point where consumers will be able to participate in this exciting technology. Indeed, PlayStation VR, which expected modest numbers, sold over 2 million units. Increasingly, VR is becoming a viable product for businesses in every industry. Developing compelling virtual reality software is becoming cheaper, manufacturing the hardware is becoming much more affordable, and consumer interest is on the rise.

The VR market is primed for steady growth. Statista projects that the VR market will expand to $40 billion by 2020. This year Statista estimates that the VR software and hardware market will equal an impressive $12 billion, nearly doubling last years’ figure.

Now more than ever it seems the appropriate time to deploy your own VR product. Entering the market is much easier than ever before, but it may still seem like an intimidating prospect. Luckily, there’s a few tips and tricks you can employ to get started on your own VR venture.

Make the idea concrete

VR is an amazing technology. Sometimes developers will get so lost in how great VR technology is that they forget to hone their ideas. A vague idea for VR will not produce the results you want, will complicate the development process, and will make it hard for your product to stand out from others.

Try to be as specific about your goal as you can before you even begin developing your product. Naturally, things will change and your idea may transform as things progress. Still, it’s better to have a plan, an end goal in mind, before diving into development.

Make a plan

Planning is essential. You’ll need to establish your idea, set an overarching goal based on that idea, and create a plan to get to that overarching goal.

Laying out a plan doesn’t set anything in stone, it just is a means of breaking down your goal into steps. You may not have all the information you need at the moment.

How many developers do you need? How much money will you need to complete this project? These are questions you’ll answer according to your needs and your goals as you set out your plan. Rates for a simple VR game, if you plan to hire out the development phase, costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Developing a VR game yourself could be considerably cheaper, however. By the same token, hiring a large team could cost upwards of $100,000. It all depends on your needs. Do your research, such as research about cost, and integrate that research into your plan.

Find the right resources

Before delving into the design phase of your VR, you’ll want to clearly define the platform and tools you’ll be using. There’s a few free resources at your disposal, such as Unity, which is a free-to-use development environment. Unreal Engine is another resource at your disposal, which can be used to develop VR games for free.

Will your VR app be used in conjunction with Google (News - Alert) Cardboard? Or will you develop an immersive experience for Steam VR for the HTC (News - Alert) Vive and Oculus Rift? Or will you release a VR game exclusively for the PlayStation? The answers to these questions depend on your budget and your goals.

For those just starting out, or perhaps experimenting with VR for the first time, you may want to consider developing your game or experience through Unity or Unreal, and release your finished product as a VR mobile app.

Conclusion

Developing VR applications is an extremely rewarding endeavor. While it might seem overwhelming to delve into developing your own product, the opposite is true. Not only is developing your VR product possible, it’s profitable.

To get started, you’ll need to do a bit of research into the costs, tools, and platforms you have at your disposal, such as Google Cardboard, the Unreal Engine, and Unity. Most importantly, you’ll need a plan and a great deal of patience to pull it off. Remember that if you are short on funds, with a little time and dedication, you’ll be able to conjure up a suitable, shippable VR product. Research, persist, and remain focused. Sooner rather than later, you should have a workable VR product on your hands.




Edited by Mandi Nowitz
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