IKEA today announced the release of a pilot virtual reality app, the IKEA VR Experience, on Valve’s world leading game platform Steam. The test app, featuring a virtual kitchen experience, is the first foray from IKEA into VR technology. The launch of the app is intended to solicit consumer feedback as IKEA continues to explore the possible implications of the technology for the home. In recent years, IKEA has explored new technology as a way to improve its offer and empower customers. The launch of IKEA VR Experience is one of the steps taken in this effort.
“Virtual reality is developing quickly 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, someday, 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.
The IKEA VR Experience brings the user a virtual IKEA kitchen in real world size. Using an HTC Vive headset, consumers can use the app to explore one of three differently-styled kitchen room settings. The user can change the color of cabinets and drawers with a click. Another feature is the ability to view the kitchen from different perspectives by either shrinking or stretching yourself to move around the kitchen at the size of a 3.3 foot-tall child or a 6.4 foot-tall 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.
“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 was 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.
Feedback and suggestions on how to improve the IKEA VR Experience can be submitted to VRDevelopment@IKEA.com. The IKEA VR Experience will be continuously updated until August when this particular pilot test ends.
About IKEA U.S.
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. here are currently more than 380 IKEA stores in 47 countries, including 41 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see IKEA-USA.com, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.
About IKEA Group
Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 332 stores in 28 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 771 million visitors during FY15 and 1.9 billion people visited IKEA.com (www.ikea.com).
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.