Dell is over the moon for virtual reality. The company’s video game PC brand, Alienware, is powering Lunar Golf: The Future of Golf Experience on HTC Vives in a traveling virtual reality experience that will visit the PGA Tour world golf championship events this season.
Lunar Golf takes place in a custom inflatable dome, which features 360-degree projection mapped visuals of the moon. Once attendees put on a headset, they’re transported inside a rover for ride across the moon to the golf location. After selecting a club, the user gets to swing four times as they perform their best Alan Shepard impersonation. Up to four users can experience golfing on the moon at once.
According to Bryan Jones, vice president of North America commercial marketing at Dell, hitting golf balls on the moon has long been an iconic moment in history and the company wanted everyone to experience that moment through virtual reality.
Dell is currently exploring additional events to demonstrate Lunar Golf. The company has also upgraded the technology that allowed 3D Live to create this experience.
“We worked closely with 3D Live to create the most realistic golf movements possible,” Jones says. “We were involved in the early conception, and equipped 3D Live with Dell Precision Workstations to build the experience.”
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“VR has a growing role across the enterprise from conceptual design through marketing and customer engagement driving a continued need to help make virtual experiences accessible across all industries, from architecture to engineering,” says Steven Madge, vice president at Dassault Systemes, which is using HTC Vive to power Audi showrooms.
Dell collaborated with Oculus (FB) on its certification program to establish benchmark configuration requirements for virtual reality. Currently, Alienware has four Oculus-ready systems, including the XPS 8900 SE, the Alienware X51, and the Alienware Area 51. HTC Vive will also work on any of the Oculus-ready PC systems.
Dell, much like chip makers NVIDIA (NVDA) and AMD (AMD), is gung ho about virtual reality, which could help the struggling PC industry sell new hardware to consumers eager to bring home this new technology. According to Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster, only 10% of current PCs can run Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Stephanie Llamas, analyst at SuperData Research, doesn’t believe this year’s initial launch of virtual reality will help the PC industry much.
“The HTC Vive and Oculus will ship 1.1 million units this year,” Llamas says. “If 50% of those units meant a PC sale, which is unrealistically high, that’s only half a million PCs. Seventeen million PCs worldwide have the ability to run PC VR, so that’s not going to make a huge dent.”
But Llamas believes it’s in Dell’s best interest to push for virtual reality device adoption as early as possible so they can equate themselves with VR as much as possible and help grow a market that will have the potential a few years down the line to help drive PC sales.