In recent virtual reality (VR) news, Mastercard, Swarovski and VR have come together to make living rooms more tasteful places, according to a news release posted by BusinessWire.
The fruits of the partnership include a new VR shopping app which will offer users their own crystal browsing adventures, giving them the option to explore virtual homes filled with crystal objects designed by architect Zaha Hadid, designer Tomás Alonso and others.
While commerce is an often-cited, practical, non-gaming use for augmented reality (AR) and VR technology, the Mastercard and Swarovski partnership hints at the potential applications for the technology to improve luxury commerce. Crystal is heavy, expensive, delicate and difficult to ship, and VR may just offer an absolutely functional solution that nets more sales — and fewer returns.
Moreover, one of the persistently named stumbling blocks for VR tech is a lack of variety among applications with which to use it. As more mainstream players are developing for VR, the use cases are likely to expand.
The new Mastercard/Swarvorksi app will be available for download on Apple iOS and Google Android phones next month. For now, it is only available in the U.S., but Mastercard plans to expand from there.
Users will need a VR headset to use the app. Once plugged in, the app takes users on a tour of five areas in a home with different crystal pieces from the Atelier Swarovski line in each of the areas. Users can read descriptions, see pricing and, in some cases, even watch videos about their creation.
Prices run from $325 for a Kim Thomé-designed candlestick holder to $5,500 for an Aldo Bakker-made crystal and pink onyx vase.
When it comes time to purchase, users can add an item to a payment card or select a Masterpass button at the bottom of the product’s description.