eBay launches world’s first VR store

EBay has launched the world’s first virtual reality store, in partnership with¬†Australian retailer Myer.

It works with all Google Cardboard devices, and the company is also giving away Shopticals, a branded headset made out of Cardboard.

EBay's Shopticals. (Image courtesy eBay.)
EBay’s Shopticals. (Image courtesy eBay.)

You can download the app for iPhones and for Android devices — but only if you’re in Australia. The demo video also shows Gear VR users, but the app doesn’t seem to be available yet for that platform.

The 3D visualization changes based on whether the user is looking, and can expand individual product areas and show 3D images of the products.
The 3D visualization changes based on whether the user is looking, and can expand individual product areas and show 3D images of the products.

What’s interesting about the application is that it skips the typical virtual store approach that we’ve grown used to in Second Life and OpenSim, which is a virtual version of an actual, physical store that you can walk through.

Instead, it uses 3D visualizations to let users browse through the store catalog and then look at individual items.

Individual product view.
Individual product view.

It’s not exactly clear how this is an improvement over a standard online store, especially since typing in payment and address information is difficult with a virtual reality headset, and it’s also hard to search by keywords or features.

The big benefit of virtual reality shopping is expected to be the social aspects, which aren’t at play here.

Watch a video demo below.

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as a tech journalist at her day job.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.