The virtual reality-kitchen, IKEA VR Experience, was today released on Valve’s world leading game platform Steam. The app is a pilot test exploring new ways to empower customers without increasing the impact on the environment. In the future it could be an opportunity for customers to try new kitchen solutions before they buy them.
For the last couple of years IKEA has explored new technology as a way to improve the offer and empower customers. In this context, IKEA has tried different digital tools and identified virtual reality as one of the ways to move forward. The launch of IKEA VR Experience is one of the steps taken within this field. It is a virtual kitchen made to appear to the user in real world size.
“Virtual reality is developing fast and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives. We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers, for instance it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them,” says Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group.
One of the features of IKEA VR Experience is the possibility to change the color of cabinets and drawers with a click. Another feature is the ability to shrink yourself and move around the kitchen in the size of a 3.3 foot (100 cm) tall child. You can also enlarge yourself and experience it as 6.4 feet (195 cm) tall. These features will be useful from a safety perspective, since walking around the room in someone else’s shoes enables you to discover hidden dangers.
“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world. We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen,” says Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications, the in-house communication agency at IKEA of Sweden.
The app has been made in collaboration with developers at the French company Allegorithmic, using Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games, and has been developed for HTC Vive – a first of its kind, award winning, virtual reality system created by HTC and Valve.
IKEA VR Experience will be continuously updated until August when this particular pilot test ends.
HTC Corporation aims to bring brilliance to life. As a global innovator in smart mobile devices and technology, HTC has produced award-winning products and industry firsts since its inception in 1997, including the critically acclaimed HTC One and HTC Desire lines of smartphones. The pursuit of brilliance is at the heart of everything HTC does, inspiring best-in-class design and game-changing mobile and virtual reality experiences for consumers around the world. HTC is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Allegorithmic develops the new generation of 3D texturing software: Substance Painter, Substance Designer and Substance B2M. With most AAA game studios using these tools, Substance has become the industry standard for creating next-generation PBR (Physically Based Rendering) assets. These tools are also rapidly expanding to the VFX/Film and Design/Architecture industries.
About Unreal Engine
Developed by Epic Games, the Unreal Engine brings high-fidelity experiences to PC, console, mobile, the Web and VR. Unreal Engine accelerates the creation of games, applications, visualizations and cinematic content. Download Unreal Engine for free at unrealengine.com, and follow @UnrealEngine for updates
Note: Image Copyright IKEA