Virtual Reality isn’t going away anytime soon it seems. Last year, both Alibaba and JD.com announced plans to introduce a VR marketplace. Not a place to buy a VR headset mind you, but a virtual brick and mortar store so you can see the products as they would be in real life. Now, Amazon appears to be getting into the same market, with a very telling job posting on LinkedIn.
What are Amazon’s VR Ambitions?
Variety was the first to notice the job posting, which was posted 5 days ago at the time of writing. The position is based in Palo Alto, the unofficial capital of Silicon Valley, and it’s asking for a lot. The post is calling for extensive experience in Unreal, Unity, Interface design and a whole slurry of other skills. Specifically, this is for A9, the branch of Amazon dedicated to search and advertising optimisation. Put two and two together, and you realise that Amazon seems to have something very special in mind. Variety has said that Amazon declined to comment on the job posting, so what it entails is not entirely certain. However, since the American company is soon going to be competing directly with Alibaba, it stands to reason that they would want a direct response to what they have on offer.
Amazon has definitely chosen a great time to start hiring for this kind of experiment. Google is pushing their Daydream View headset aggressively with a significant price cut until next month. Samsung is definitely releasing the second iteration of the Gear VR sometime this year. Zuckerberg, even though he is currently defending his role in the Zenimax-Oculus fight at the moment, says that Facebook with invest at least US$3billion (S$4.28billion) into VR over the next decade. 2016 might not have been the year of VR developers wanted it to be, but no-one is cutting losses just yet.
Will we see Amazon’s virtual reality shop anytime soon? Of course not, as the position is unlikely to be filled anytime soon. However, these innovations move quickly. Before we know it, online shopping will finally have a similar feel to more traditional shopping.