Is there someone in your life you’ve been trying to introduce to the world of Extended Reality? As we move into the cooler winter months of a pandemic year, spending time indoors, but on your own, is not just wise, it’s necessary. So, with plenty of shopping and shipping time left before holiday giving, we’re sharing our top VR/AR Gift ideas that we think are ideal for introducing new users to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.
We know there are still millions of potential users worldwide who haven’t tried VR and AR products. And there are millions still in the in-between phase, interested in XR, either on the cusp of purchasing hardware or still building a content library. As we all gear up to spend more time indoors, yet socially distant this winter, giving the gift of VR/AR has never been a better idea.
This headset is going to be the hottest VR gift of the season this year. And we think so for several reasons. The first of which is that it packs powerful processing and sharp display into a cordless design. Second, it’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper than its predecessor. And third, the reviews are fantastic. For example, it’s a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice ranked 4.5 out of 5 or Excellent. “The best VR experience $300 can buy.”.
The best place to look for affordable, quality VR content is undoubtedly the STEAM game marketplace. Gift cards can be purchased online and delivered electronically or from many major retailers if you want the experience of giving a physical card. A little can go a long way here too owing to the great selection of affordable games. A single gift card purchase can net savvy recipients several games depending on their taste.
Have you got a photographer on your list? If so, consider introducing them to a 360-degree camera. Give a gift that helps cultivate a hobby that’s easy to enjoy on an individual level. The Insta 360 boasts advanced stabilization technology and several selfie-oriented features. Timeshift in particular lets you choose slow-mo or hyperlapse to control video speed for mind-bending effects.
One of the world’s most popular games (that’s more than just a game) is available for mobile users with an AR twist. Great for all ages, we love that this gift idea can bring people together. It’s ideal for parents who share phones with children as well as friends looking for socially distant outdoor activities.
Although this game is still on pre-order, we think it’s worth waiting for and still worthy of our top gift list. Marketed as “a better game night” the Tilt Five removes the need for detailed board game setup and augmented instructions replace printed rule books. The kit includes AR glasses, a holographic game board, and a wand for added interactivity. The estimated delivery is April 2021.
6. AR 2021 Calendar
An Augmented Reality printed product is an ideal vehicle for introducing the potential of AR to someone completely new to the concept. Calendars make great gifts on their own, particularly at a time of year when they need to be replaced. But with the added value of an AR layer, the recipient can come back to AR over and over for a sustained period.
7. AR Photo or Picture Book
Augmented Reality books can do a lot of neat tricks and they can be purchased off the shelf or customized by the giver. AR books can animate drawings or launch narration. Think of beloved characters coming to life or a grandparent’s own voice reading the story. These gifts can range from charming visuals to priceless keepsakes.
Should You Give the Gift of VR/AR?
If you’ve ever given a gift and seen a lackluster response, or even excitement, but then a lack of engagement, you may be hesitant to try something new. The good news when it comes to VR/AR gifts is that they don’t fall flat. In most cases, it’s quite the opposite. XR gifts are sought-after and well-received – with all ages and audiences.
Also, consider your recipient and price point. Are you shopping for an office secret Santa pool? Or a significant other? Or one of your children? You may need to spend less or be willing to invest more and the options will change accordingly.
There is also the scale and scope of technology’s role in your gift. The AR picture book idea mentioned above is just a small taste of Augmented Reality; something that can add a little magic to storytime while broadening a child’s horizons in terms of what contemporary technology can offer.
VR or AR? Hardware or Content?
Once the ‘wow’ factor of VR wears off for new users, engagement can drop off if you’ve chosen the wrong product. We recommend looking for a gift with staying power in mind. If you choose an affordable headset, make sure it’s one with a strap. Devices a user needs to hold to their face are better suited for brief demonstrations rather than an ongoing relationship with a product. If you choose a specific game or experience to go along with a headset or content for someone who already has hardware, look for content that has multiple stages or provides an experience that your recipient will want to replay or revisit.
Giving the gift of choice is an excellent plan – and this can apply to hardware as well as experience content. You could opt for a retailer gift card to allow your recipient to choose their ideal headset. And a content marketplace (like STEAM) offers the same personalization factor. Just a make sure that you’ve chosen a retailer that offers enough selection to actually provide that choice rather than a few limited options.
If you choose a printed product brought to life with an app, the fun will be real, but remember to look for something that’s still enjoyable without the digital content. Books given to children, in particular, should stand alone without the intervention of a phone or tablet. But in the end, we think this is a feature that makes AR books so special; they straddle the world of traditional communication and technological wizardry.
VR/AR Gift Ideas for Non-gamers
Giving hardware and/or content credit to someone who doesn’t really enjoy gaming might not be the right choice. But then again, remember that VR content is now so much more than merely a new level of gaming.
Users have access to realistic travel experiences, effective relaxation tools, fitness routines, art creation, and more. Virtual field trips can take students from popular museums or galleries to the bottom of the ocean or the surface of Mars.
And in 2020, not only do we need remote education products, we need stress management strategies that can be applied at home. VR/AR Gifts, when viewed in this light, are more practical than ever before.
VR/AR Hardware & Content Experts
One of the barriers to continued progress and adoption of Extended Reality products is general mainstream knowledge. So XR evangelism – including gift-giving – and all things that promote VR/AR technology is something we want to participate in here at Stambol.
If you need to introduce someone at your organization to any XR or spatial computing products, please feel free to ask for our help. Our team of experts has experience working with a broad range of industries and leadership roles.
Feature Image Credit: stokkete / Adobe Stock