Free Virtual Reality Is Totally Metal
When it comes to technology, adoption is everything. That's why many of our ubiquitous devices either have cheaper versions (you can get a PC or laptop for less than $300) or subsidized versions (like smartphones, which exploded after phone carriers began bundling them "for free" with their services).
A few years ago, Facebook bought the virtual reality (VR) gaming headset Oculus Rift for $2 billion and Mark Zuckerberg called it one of the company's most important platforms. But the $599 headset is going to be a serious buy-in, and each one needs a $1,000-plus computer system to power it. That's a significant barrier to mass adoption.
There's already a growing market of cheaper devices. The Samsung VR Gear is designed to use your existing smartphone as its screen (with an app controlling the display), and already retails for $99. Lenovo recently bundled a similar headset with a low-end tablet it only sells in India, and the company sold 10,000 of those mobile-VR bundles in less than a second.
But the real beginning of VR, and the real usefulness of VR in marketing today, is even cheaper.
The future is cardboard.
By that I mean Google Cardboard, a project to create a VR player for smartphones held in cheap cardboard "viewers" with glass lenses, literally a poor-man's Samsung VR Gear. You can order one for yourself for $20 to $50.
Or, as a marketer, you can give them away.
That's where this gets "Metal." Enter Megadeth.
What's beautiful about Megadeth's new symphony of VR destruction is that it's basically an album. The virtual reality experience, including the cardboard viewer — which frontman Dave Mustang describes brilliantly as "metal origami" — comes with purchase of the "limited edition VR package" of their new album Dystopia. And that's being sold for the very typical album price point of $15 to $25. The VR experience is essentially free, a marketing gimmick, a response booster.