Despite Spending Millions, Did This Virtual Reality Project Fail?

Imagine giving away 2.3 million VR Headsets for free. That’s what Tata Motors’ Tiago Virtual Drive did. At a cost of $0.4 per headset, bulk production with a thick paper design, it would still mean close to $1 million. That’s just on Virtual Reality Headsets. The cost of creating content, marketing it, all the adverts, training your own users etc would definitely add a lot.

This post in no way wants to derive a conclusion if Tiago Virtual Drive failed or not. We leave it to users to decide. However, we try to draw your attention to some points related to this project.

Timing of the project vis-a-vis Virtual Reality

Tiago Virtual Drive launched in second week of April, 2016. Man that was the time even we were learning what VR is. I wonder whether the common people knew about it. YouTube was the only platform supporting VR Videos. Back then, even Facebook didn’t have any support for Virtual reality. We must say it was a brave attempt by Tata Motors to bring out Tiago Virtual Drive at such an early stage.




 

VR Compatibility of smartphones

Many smartphone users didn’t even know about Virtual Reality, forget about their phones being compatible or not. Many tried their hands by downloading the app but were disappointed to find out the non-compatibility. This added to the irritation and can be noticed from the comments on the play store. The same continued on YouTube and other media. Not sure how much effort Tata Motors made to educate the user about VR compatibility of smartphone. But in any case it would be impossible to let the message pass on to 2.3 million possible users.

tiago virtual drive

Novelty and Buzz Factor

Tiago Virtual Drive won on this point very handsomely. The media all over the world wrote about this experiment. The VR community, in particular, shared the news on almost all platforms and some even called this attempt as a way to give stimulus to Virtual Reality in Indian market. There was not a single print, online or other media type, particularly in India, that didn’t cover this news.

 

Content Quality

Considering its launch in April, we believe the conceptualization, content creation and other production/development must have started at least 6 months before. We don’t find it very great content in terms of Video quality and Interactivity that we can expect from such an experiment. User engagement with the Tiago Virtual Drive is almost negligible. Such an experiment coupled with some motion sensors and/or controls inside the Virtual Reality environment would increase user engagement.

 

ROI and Objective

Tata Motors communicated in the recent past that projects such as Tiago Virtual Drive was more for Brand Building. Tiago Virtual Drive definitely wins this round. Definitely it notched its position by few inches as an innovative brand; not only an innovative brand for Tata Motors but also for Tiago. If we only look at ROI in terms of mere numbers of downloads (10-50K), video views (242K) then it won’t be the right comparison. Tiago Virtual Drive really succeeded in creating the buzz and curiosity. It certainly was a talk of the town during the launch of Tiago.

 

Conclusion

As a Virtual Reality Experiment, it might not have succeeded as well as other projects. However, it definitely served the Tata Motors’ business objectives for Tiago Virtual Drive. What do you think?

 

 

Until Next Time…

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Jitesh

A digital enthusiast, who is amazed by the power of Virtual Reality. Here to share what I read.

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