In one of the more drastic price drops associated with an electronic gadget in recent years, Nokia has reduced the price of its high end VR camera Ozo by $15,000. As a result of this cut, the camera now costs merely $45,000 and fans of immersive content the world over are that much closer to creating content on the go — assuming they are happy with the new price that is.
The device was launched near the end of last year and since then has remained there, just under the surface. At the time, there was plenty of talk about Nokia focusing upon Virtual Reality as the next big business. However, with the passage of time nothing to suggest an interest of quite that magnitude in the niche. Sure, content in the virtual reality genre has a huge potential, however there is a significant dearth of content — thanks partly to the massive price tags associated with its apparatus.
Meanwhile, Ozo was introduced back in December and Nokia has since then been aiming it at the more developed markets of US and Europe — which are likelier to host filmmakers and content producers willing to shell out the $60,000 or so required to get hold of the VR camera. The company has now brought in a 25 percent price cut and is probably hoping to bring those who have been teetering on the edge of foraying into VR. Capable of capturing 360° spherical video and 360×360 surround sound, the Ozo VR Camera is almost the best that can be bought in immersive content production.
Nokia is also looking to expand its presence into other markets — including China. The company is likely to start taking pre-orders for Ozo from customers in China from next month with a scheduled shipping date in October. Nokia is also rumored to be in talks with Chinese online video company LeEco so as to distribute the content produced through Ozo. If everything pans out, Nokia will be able to project LeEco’s VR division, LeVR, as a potential outlet for VR content.
Content distribution is certainly a big issue — at least as big as production itself. Getting users to buy a headset — which aren’t actually dime a dozen — requires quality content. However, content requires active effort on the part of filmmakers themselves — effort they aren’t much likely to make unless they can see a dedicated audience waiting to lap up the content they produce. Many companies, such as Facebook, realize the need to accelerate the ecosystem and indeed, have begun making efforts in the direction by putting their hardware designs and video stitching algorithms on Github
Its more a matter of time than anything else. Eventually, immersive content is going to hit the mainstream. When that happens, Nokia, Facebook and others hope to be at the forefront as apparatus providers to filmmakers, thanks to their early efforts in the niche.