Cost of Virtual Reality Training: 360º VR 
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With any custom learning and development work, it’s going to be challenging to give a set price for custom 360º virtual reality training content. When you want customized 360º virtual reality training materials, it can cost from $20,000 to $75,000 or more.
Our team is asked every day, “How much does 360º virtual reality training cost?” and it’s not easy to give just one answer.
Many factors can affect the price of virtual reality (VR) training, from the customization of the content to the level of interactions for the user. Then, you have to consider the number and quality of the headsets.
In this article, we will review the cost range of 360º virtual reality training projects and break down factors that could change your price.
*Cost ranges are general estimates; each training program is unique, and costs can vary. Please seek a professional quote for more specific and reliable costs.
What is Virtual Reality Training?
Virtual reality is an artificial environment in which the user is fully immersed in an experience. Putting on a VR headset can transport a user to a new location where they can look around themselves, walk up close computer-generated objects, and interact with items and people.
There are two types of virtual reality:
- 360º VR / 3DoF / Three Degrees of Freedom – Well-suited for seated or stationary environments, as the position of your learners’ viewpoint is fixed. Learners can interact with the environment via gaze control or a laser pointer controller.
- Full VR / 6DoF / Six Degrees of Freedom – Allows a person with a headset to move freely and organically in a virtual environment. Learners can observe, walk, or move around objects placed in the environment, just as if those objects were real.
With VR, you can develop a shared experience for your team, let learners interact with virtual scenes and hazards, and provide a safe space to practice technical and hands-on work.
Examples of VR Corporate Training uses:
- Scenario-Based Learning – Refine soft skills with a first-person perspective of real-life customer situations. Create a realistic sense of a tense situation and learn how to make critical decisions.
- Technical Skills – Teach employees how to assemble products or complicated machinery by allowing them to interact with a digital re-creation. Prompt them to physically walk around an environment and, using hand-held controllers, pick up virtual objects, push virtual buttons, and more.
- Processes – Work through troubleshooting products and repair equipment by outlining the steps and guiding the student to work through the problem step by step.
- Onboarding – Introduce new employees by showing them the ins and outs of the business, shop floor, process, and more from their own training room.
- Simulations – Military, aviation, and law enforcement are great examples of simulation-based training where you can work on reactions in hazardous situations without actually being in danger.
Read More: VR Training Safety: 5 Tips You Need To Know
How Much Does 360º Virtual Reality Training Cost?
When an organization wants to try 360º virtual reality training for the first time, we recommend a pilot program. A 360º virtual reality training pilot program typically costs between $20,000 and $30,000.
The capabilities and customization of a pilot program may be more limited than a complete 360º VR training program. Still, it is a great way to get started with 360º VR training with a relatively low investment.
This pilot program is a great way to to get started because you can:
- Learn about the process of developing your VR content
- Test to see if the technology is received well by your learners
- Figure out if your learning objectives can be met with VR technology
- See if the VR training is scalable for your business needs
When we build pilots, we build them as though they’re part of a full program. That way we’ve already got a usable starting point to build from if a full program gains support. When you are ready to move past your pilot program or jump into your 360º virtual reality training program design, you can expect to pay, on average, between $30,000 and $75,000. Now let’s break down the factors that affect the price of your program.
Instructional Design and Programming
Instructional design is usually the first step for developing your VR training content. This pre-production work usually involves:
- Outlining your learning objectives
- Developing scripts
- Mapping VR interactions
- Identifying key metrics
With a strategy in place, the creation of 360º VR begins with some filming. After the filming is completed, it’s time for post-production programming to make your footage interactive. With 360º VR, you will be able to look around you at the setting, watch the footage, and use your handsets to answer questions and choose interactive options.
Depending on the level of the instructional designer and programmer expertise, it can cost between $150 and $300 an hour to design and program 360º VR content. The level of user activity, number of interactions, types of interactions, and the virtual setting all affect the number of hours needed.
For example, training with interactions that are limited to just two answers to choose from (and thus two possible learning paths for learners to choose) may not take as long to develop as training that includes interactions with three or more possible answers and paths.
Production and Travel
Unlike full VR, 360º VR consists of a 360º video that is filmed and edited with specialized equipment. When you are creating a 360º VR training, the video production, actors, travel and other costs to film on location can cost between $8,000 and $12,000 a day — with most production taking only one or two days.
This price can vary if you are flexible about the filming location and actors used for the training. We like to work with our clients to film everything we’ll need in one trip, even if it’s footage for a future training project, to help save on costs.
With VR content, you need a way to watch and interact with the VR material. This means that you will need to invest in VR headsets for your program. The great thing about using headsets is that you can sanitize and share headsets, move them from location to location, and use them for multiple VR training programs.
You can expect to pay your vendor the cost of the headset ($500 – $1,200) plus a setup and shipping fee ($150 – $200 per headset). Working with a vendor will help you get a better deal and ensure that your headsets work properly on arrival.
In recent weeks, we have seen the growth of using Cardboard Headsets as a scalable, inexpensive alternative to introductory 360º VR training. These headsets cost between $7.00 and $12.00 per set, can be fully branded and can be used with your employees’ smartphone.
Read More: The best VR headset for 2020
Extended Reality System
If you have VR content within your training program, you will want a way to manage the content, which means you’ll need an Extended Reality System (XRS). Similar to an LMS, an XRS will help you manage, deploy, track, and measure your virtual reality training results.
With any management system, your price will depend on your number of licenses, in this case, one license per headset. You can expect to pay between $10 – $20 monthly per license plus a baseline fee for an XRS portal. Keep in mind that with software subscriptions like an XRS, the economies of scale mean that the more headsets you have on the system, the less you pay per headset.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality Training
Now that you know more about the costs of 360º VR training, it’s a good idea to reconsider the advantages and disadvantages of it.
- Safe Learning Environment – You can give your employees a safe learning environment where they can take risks without affecting customers or the business.
- Exciting and Engaging – VR is new to most people; when you tell your employees that they get to use VR, it will create a buzz and get people excited to use the technology and participate in the development program.
- Adaptable – Almost everyone can use VR technology; it doesn’t matter their body type, location, or even language. You can adapt your program to make it accessible to all of your employees.
- Physical Side Effects – Not everyone is able to participate in virtual reality programs. Some people will get headaches, nausea, eye strain, or even worse symptoms.
- Technology Development – We are all excited to start using virtual reality, but just think about what the future holds! Newer hardware, upgrade capabilities and brand new accessories. While this is exciting to imagine, it also means that you may have to refresh your program to stay current.
- High-Cost – The start-up cost for virtual reality training systems can be higher than alternatives. Between the hardware, designing, programming, etc., it may be daunting to your leadership team.
Is It Worth the Cost?
So, there you have it — average costs for 360º virtual reality training. When you consider the instructional design, creation, and management, the average cost of a 360º virtual reality training is between $20,000 and $75,000 per project.
It’s important to remember that based on your vendor, content, and scale, these prices will vary. Keep in mind that when you are looking to invest in virtual reality training, it’s best to work with your vendor to optimize your budget for your program’s long-term goals. Want to talk about the specifics of your project? Let’s discuss it, and we’ll get you a professional quote.