Does user participation always work?

There is absolutely no doubt that audience participation has increased year by year. As technology develops blazingly fast, a new product on the market will try to improve the user’s participation.

One of the first products to make users’ integration its’ main feature was the Nintendo Wii. Released over ten years ago in 2005, the product was enormously successful. Even if the games on this platform were extremely inferior to other consoles, this was the first time you could actually be part of the game 100%. To be fair, Sony’s PlayStation did it before with the “EyeToy” in 2003, but it was very limited.

Yet, in recent history Audience Participation was not always successful. I’m referring to Google Glass: the product, very futuristic, offered the ability to be part of the net while just wearing eyeglasses. The lens would display information from Google while walking for instance, telling you which street you were in. You would receive notifications from social media as well, without having to use a smartphone: basically a hands free, fully integrated internet always at disposal.

Sounds amazing right? Yet Google Glass was a flop. A big one. After millions were invested, the product was too expansive ( around 1500 dollars) and its’ technology not good enough. According to Investopedia, “the technology required lengthy battery life, improved image-recognition capabilities and a lot of data”.  As the MIT Technology Review points out, “no one could understand why you’d want to have that thing on your face, in the way of normal social interaction.”

On the other hand, other reality augmentation products are being developed, and investments are being made continuously, which would make us think that Audience Participation is absolutely important to tech companies and that they’re making efforts to improve it.

An example is Oculus Rift, a “Head Mounted Display” which projects images straight into the eyes, giving you the feel of being inside what you’re watching, usually a game. Oculus VR created it with just a 2 million dollars crowd founding campaign on Kick-starter and then the virtual reality gadget was acquired by Facebook for the astonishing sum of 2 billion.




How & Why Google Glass Failed



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