Google’s newly minted VP of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor revealed some enlightening statistics concerning the Cardboard VR headset. In a blog post, Bavor wrote that more than 5 million of the low-cost DIY viewers have shipped since they were first released in June 2014.
This is certainly a large number, but it is important to note the Cardboard kits are often given out for free by the truckload — even with the morning newspaper or cereal box — so the figure doesn’t reflect how many people actually used them even once, let alone use them on an ongoing basis.
There have been over 25 million downloads of Cardboard apps from the Google play store since June 2014, according to the blog. The numbers form a definite J-curve with downloads steadily increasing every month. For example, from October to December 2015 there were 10 million downloads compared to only 5 million between June 2014 and February 2015.
In terms of pictures and video, the post reveals users viewed over 350,000 hours of immersive 360 video using Google Cardboard.
They also snapped over 750,000 of their own VR-enabled photos via the Cardboard Camera app.
The final figure Google reveals in the post is related to Google Expeditions. The academic program sent more than 500,000 students on VR field trips and the company is planning to further expand this service in 2016.
These numbers suggest Cardboard is a successful introductory VR experience for Google. Through this platform the tech giant has been able to get its name and ideas out into the VR marketplace cheaply and quickly. This year Google already made major announcements concerning VR including the formation of a dedicated VR division and several high-profile hirings. The company seems to be preparing for much more as “the year of VR” progresses.