IKEA, the Swedish retail giant, has announced the launch of the IKEA VR Experience. This new app will act as a pilot test for the HTC Vive to find new ways to transform the retail experience in home furnishings. IKEA’s app also lets consumers try new kitchen solutions before buying.
IKEA leaps into the VR world
IKEA released the app on Valve’s game distribution platform Steam in partnership with HTC, taking its first step in the VR world. The app is based on the Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games. The Swedish firm already offers many useful 3D planning tools for designing kitchens, wardrobes, and storage areas.
The app takes users into a virtual Ikea kitchen of real-world size where they can try different combinations like changing the colors of cabinets and drawers and even view the kitchen from the height of a child and adult.
“This could be useful for the user, since walking around the room in someone else’s shoes enables you to discover hidden dangers or possible design solutions,” the company said.
“We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them,” said the managing director at IKEA of Sweden, Jesper Brodin.
Virtual reality has the potential to give its audience an experience they have never had before. Since there is no grammar in place on how stories should be told in an immersive VR environment, each new project that comes up presents its own unique challenge.
Limited functionality now
Tim Prevade, the range manager for IKEA Australia, said users are known for embracing innovations and the latest technology, so VR has the potential to transform the way people interact with IKEA products in the home.
“We look forward to hearing our customers’ feedback on the experience as we continue to explore this space in the future,” said Prevade.
IKEA expects users to spend around 5 minutes in the app, and since it is just a pilot program, it will be supported only through August. The company encourages users to send their feedback to VRDevelopment@IKEA.com.
As of now, the app offers limited functionality, but it is believed future versions of the app will help users redecorate their entire homes in VR. Nevertheless, by giving customers the ability to change the color of furnishings and shrink themselves down to move around the space, the Swedish retail giant has surely taken immersive VR another step.