A fashion trend, a cutting-edge technology, a new direction in art, a radical philosophical and lifestyle shift. First of all VR is a rapidly growing market. Many researches state that VR market is on its way to its own Big Bang with some, like Thinkmobiles, promising a 400% increase in number of active VR users till 2018. So with the cost to develop a VR app being quite fair nowadays it is the best time to create a VR app for business.
Keep in mind that building a virtual reality application is much more complicated than just adding the Oculus Rift plugin to an existing application. The best idea would be to contact a virtual reality app development company, because there is a number of challenges risen by such a delicate matter associated with the nature of VR. Platform variety adds to the complexity since there are more than just Oculus and Google, there are also HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. And soon there would be more.
So let’s look at the stages of virtual reality app development and find out how much does VR application development cost.
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The stages of building a virtual reality application would be:
• Developing the project documentation
• Resources allocation
• Development and production
Developing the project documentation
It is very important for any business, both for an established one and for a startup, that all their operations run smoothly. While the work inside any company flows according to inner rules and is usually tuned with years of adjustments, hiring a contractor is a different story. That is why project documentation is so important, properly developed, it ensures that virtual reality developers would build exactly what you want them to. A good tip in virtual reality application development is to make project documentation as detailed, as it is possible. It allows to specify all the aspects of the future product, starting from the very idea of the app, through customers’ needs to usage details.
Resources allocation, development and production
Development of virtual or augmented reality apps rises a number of challenges specific to this rather young area. Most of them are technical and design challenges. The short story is that human brain is a sharp and brilliant tool, with millions of years of evolution behind, so it is not easy in any way to trick it and substitute reality with a VR giving a subconscious feeling of presence.
Main technical challenges during VR app development are:
4. Platform fragmentation
Latency, if high, totally kills presence effect. Human brain would never believe the reality of shown pictures, if the lag between a movement made by user and the actual picture change was higher than certain threshold. As short as 4ms latency is advised by some researchers for a smooth experience and strong subconscious presence feeling. All that reads that the VR app must be fast. Very fast.
Avatar is the only seen representation of a user wearing a head-mounted display (HMD). It brings developers to yet another challenge, especially if avatar’s dimensions differ from those of its user, or if there is a limited number of trackers.
Interactions with the virtual world are diverse and complex, starting with object manipulating and navigating, ending with custom menus and typing all these activities must be smooth and natural not to spoil user experience.
There is more than a couple of VR platforms these days, from the ultra cheap cardboard headsets for Android devices to the big bunch of multiple third-party headsets, also supporting iPhones, not to leave iOs users without the fun. And then there is the very famous Oculus Rift, and a variety of HMDs, and stereoscopic walls. And the number of platform is going to grow. That vast variety could be rather painful to adapt to, it all takes time and effort.
And then there is the design. A long path, balancing between fantasy and users’ perception, a new branch of art, sometimes a way to express company philosophy in a whole new way and the cornerstone of usability design needs a special team and a serious amount of time. This is the price to be payed in the visual perception territory.
All these require specific teams, team leaders and a PM, who plans, allocates and controls all the resources in order to build a virtual reality application in the way that corresponds customers wishes the best.
Warranty period maintenance and post warranty service and further development, including adding new features to the app are the last stage. While the warranty period bug fixes are obviously free, adding (or changing existing) new features comes at a price.These new tasks also require new estimations and planning, they basically walk the whole path described above but on a smaller scale. Hourly rate at the virtual reality app development company is used to calculate the price of these jobs.
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Pricing in the area varies dramatically depending on the scale of the project. With simple games starting at $5,000, to hundreds thousand dollars in enormous projects like MMOs. Online VR shops are averaging around $200,000. Projects usually take three month to two years for aforementioned huge MMORPGs. Sure thing, post-production times are unlimited, with warranty period set to a predefined value.
As we see, it is the best time for business to enter the promising new ground of virtual and augmented reality. VR apps are super cool right now, they give broad not yet fully known possibilities to both business and customers. VR is a quantum leap to the future.