Virtual Reality Goes Mainstream

Unless you live under the proverbial rock, you’ve most likely heard of (or maybe even played) Pokemon Go. I knew it was widespread when the vet’s sign marquee on my daily commute proclaimed: Is your pet scratching? Let us take a Pikachu! For every story about someone falling off a cliff while playing, there are plenty more tales of this interactive game helping people with social anxiety and even special needs kids to connect. Regardless of your opinion of the game, with its added benefits of time spent outdoors and time spent together as a family, it is heralded as a life-changer by many, even if those changes in some cases mean a break-up.

The concept of marrying a video game and the real world is not something new, as evidenced by the wealth of virtual reality products. One recent analysis of virtual reality’s global economic impact estimates a potential of $14.6 billion by 2020. Just as Pokemon Go is helping those with social anxiety feel connected, virtual reality technology is being used therapeutically to help treat PTSD. As the technology continues to improve, sets get lighter and more comfortable, and crowdfunded campaigns continue to exceed funding goals, VR products will grow to be a more common sight.

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