First we had SimCity; now we have StockCity, a new tool that utilizes Oculus Rift’s virtual reality platform to enable investors to view a simulation of their investment portfolios. It seems like an ‘interesting’ idea for investors who work better with images than with a list of words and numbers on a piece of paper or a computer screen (or for investors who think of stocks as gambling rather than pieces of a business).
Details on StockCity
Fidelity Labs, the think tank operated by Fidelity Investments, introduced StockCity today. The tool combines Oculus Rift’s virtual reality technology with data to enable investors to visualize what their stock portfolio would look like if it was a city.
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Each of the buildings in the city tells some information about a particular stock, but there aren’t any numbers or percentages. To get the full benefit of the three-dimensional tool, investors need the Oculus Rift headset, but it also is possible to view StockCity using the newest version of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Chrome Browser.
How StockCity works
InformationWeek’s WallStreet & Technology interviewed Fidelity Labs executive Sean Belka about the investment tool. The heights of the buildings in an investor’s personal StockCity show the price of each company’s shares. Stocks are also grouped according to sector in different parts of the cityscape, enabling investors to see how their portfolio is allocated across the different sectors.
“For many, stock research can be overwhelming and confusing,” Belka said in a statement about StockCity. “We found it was more engaging, intuitive, and even fun for investors to view their portfolio as a living, breathing ecosystem. For example, the size and footprint of the buildings tell you details about each stock, and the weather reflects what’s happening in the market.”
Would investors use StockCity?
Belka also said that they are testing the Oculus Rift platform to see if investors even want or need a 3D investment tool. The tool targets active traders who usually are quick to try anything that might help them improve their investment performance. Fidelity Labs is also targeting Millennials, who have grown up with data visualization and may be more likely to gravitate toward a tool like StockCity.
Fidelity Labs has been experimenting with using technology to create tools for investors for some time. Fidelity Investments was the first to launch a mobile app in 1998 and one of the first to release an iPhone investment app in 2010. Last year, the firm launched investing apps for the Pebble smartwatch and Google Glass.
More importantly would it help investors? The jury has not weighed in yet, but with the buildings representing positions and weather acting as a ‘market indicator’, we would advice readers to proceed with caution and check out the video below to decide.