Conclusion and main findings
We started this research because of our own lack of knowledge about the subject. We already made up a lot of preconceptions and merely wanted to inform the reader with some more information about Virtual Reality. Prior to the research we started with the following Hypothesis:
The Dutch (gaming) society is not yet fully aware of the possibilities of Virtual Reality (gaming).
We can conclude now that we could not have been more wrong. In our research we did not only find out that the hardcore Dutch gaming community has been involved and informed about all the development and progress of Virtual reality. But have been discussing the subject since the start of announcements and teasers in 2012. During our Literature review we found out that the VR gaming industry is rapidly growing with already 30 stores driven by the concept of Virtual Reality (Gaming). The only possible reason why we assume Virtual Reality gaming is not yet as big of an issue as it could’ve been is the price (599 euros) for a decent working VR Gaming device. But this problem is definitely not exclusive to the Netherlands.
Something that might counter our findings of a huge Virtual Reality fan base in the Netherlands are the findings in our Online Research. For the country with the highest amount of clicks on the search term ‘Virtual reality,’ we were surprised that, aside from prior congresses and announcement dates, the interest in Virtual reality was almost none existing. Both trend Analysis’s counter each other and the only reasonable conclusion we can make out of it is that the Dutch gaming community has an very impulsive life span. Which basically means that the interest in an topic such as Virtual Reality (gaming) rises to an peak when there is a big announcement. But about a week after the new development the community drives upon another breakthrough in a similar field of interest. We do think that, once all VR gear devices are available for consumers in The Netherlands, a long term interest will grow.
With webscraping we first found out that Eindhoven is probably the city with the highest interest in Virtual Reality. This is not very surprising as Eindhoven is also often seen as the technological capital of the Netherlands. With the webscraping we also found out that, connecting to the hashtags we used, people often use hashtags that are more detailed. When searching for #VirtualReality we stumbled upon a lot of detailed hashtags that suggest that the Dutch gaming community already has a lot of detailed knowledge about the branch.
With our Netnography we had the idea to ‘infiltrate’ into a few different online gaming communities. Namely: GameVillage, GamersNET, Dutch Warriors, Insidegamer and the Dutch versions of Tweakers and Steam. The only huge conclusion we can make from the visit and infiltration in these websites and communities is that almost none of the gaming websites that are seen as ‘most knowledgeable’ and ‘most popular’ have nearly 0 topics discussing Virtual Reality, its devices or even Virtual Reality gaming. And when the communities do create topics there is almost no response. The website we did find usefull was Tweakers, a website that hosted a topic about the Oculus Rift. With this topic we found information of Dutch consumers from the announcement and rise of the Oculus Rift in 2012 and consumers still post on the topic daily. In this community we could see an amazing difference in approach quite similar as what we found broadly on Youtube while doing Netnography there.
From our Netnography we can conclude that, since the Oculus Rift started the creation and development of Virtual reality, there have been 3 phases of approaches by the general community.
Phase 1. With the announcement of the Oculus Rift and the rise on Kickstarter the general approach was very surreal. We ourselves started our research because we felt that our childhood dream of creating Virtual Reality is now reality. This was also the general approach when searching for responses on Tweakers and several Youtube videos in 2012.
Phase 2. Around 2014 there were a lot of reviews about the Oculus Rift and even some competitors announcing its arrival that started with their own perception of creating Virtual Reality. By this time Oculus Rift had already replaced its release date several times. The general approach was a bit negative towards mainly the Oculus Rift. This was due to high expectations and maybe even a lack of patience.
Phase 3. Around the start of 2015 Oculus launched its campaign in which they made clear they rather create an solid working VR device then coming up with fast technology. This was very well received by the audience. At the same time there where a lot of new competitors launching its product in different world congresses from the HTC Vive (probably Oculus’s biggest competitor) to even the cardboard virtual Reality maker made by Google. By now the audience has a lot of information and given knowledge and is looking forward to a world in which Virtual Reality is not something surreal anymore. While there is still a gap between people who have no idea Virtual Reality has come this far already and people that follow every step along the way. We can clearly see that people know way more than we expected about the fast growing branch of Virtual Reality.
To answer our research question
In our research questions we asked ourselves what the difference was between the responses of the Dutch gamers society towards Virtual Reality gaming in 2012 and now. How it has grown and basically if our country is ready for a new type of reality.
Our answer? Yes, the Dutch gaming community is definitely ready for the possible Virtual reality domination on future gaming. While our expectations were very low on how much knowledge people had about Virtual Reality and all its possibilities we found out that, although not every gamer is waiting for it, there is already a lot of interest in it.
However, there is a big difference in approach to virtual reality from people that do know how far the development is and people who do not have the knowledge of these communities. Even in our own class we saw a huge difference in people who were still amazed by the Samsung VR Gear that we brought and people who not just knew it existed, but also already tried it themselves or even had one at home. Virtual reality is not as far as regular consoles or famous games yet. But we do believe that the Dutch gaming society has developed an acceptable interest and knowledge to say that the community is ready for Virtual Gaming and all its possibilities.
Advantages & limits of online research (research outlook)
A big advantage of doing online research is that we can obtain a large and diverse sample. It is cost efficient and fast, compared to doing offline research (such as an interview, focus group or observations). Another big advantage is that the target audience of one’s research is easier to approach, as you do not need to gather all kinds of people: you can easily go on the Internet and scrape for certain data, or use netnographic research to find the discussions you want to analyse in your study.
However, there are also limits of online research. First of all, with webscraping you scrape the data that is already available for you and your tools. Whenever a platform decides to change policy, you have to take that into account and your tool may not work anymore. This has been the case for us with the Instagram Hashtag Explorer.
Secondly, it is harder to obtain good qualitative data. When doing an interview or having a focus group, you can easily talk to your audience and ask questions until you receive the answer required. While doing netnography for example, you observe things that are already there, meaning you have no influence on what people say. If you need more information or elaboration on someone’s opinion for example, in real life it is easier to ask for than on the Internet, where people may not respond.