Get Ready for Virtual Reality
Because VR is finally coming mainstream
Virtual Reality, the most talked about, presented and experienced theme at this year’s SXSW. It’s been in the news and in blogs for several years, but hasn't really hit home as anything but a fun novelty or gaming experience. Combine that with recent announcements from Facebook that they are integrating VR into their platform and the success of YouTube 360, it appears that VR is finally coming mainstream.
Accessing the Virtual World
There are many ways to experience the virtual world; Google Cardboard has made it affordable for consumers by mounting your a phone in a box, while Samsung launched several versions of the Gear VR. , and Oculus, Sony and HTC are all launching headsets this year for enhanced experiences. Beyond that, software and apps like VRSE are popping up daily that making accessing VR content easy to access.
At SXSW there were demonstrations of nNew cameras, like the Theta will make recording 360 video simple , that make 360 video simple. There are while microphones that are coming available that that capture 3Dd audio to can enhance the immersionimmersive experience. I saw dDozens of new companies represented showcased that all talked about their VR production capabilities to produce VR experiences that crossed all mediums from web to new to retail.
Who stood out?
There were a lot of brands around town that featured virtual reality with (in my opinion) varying levels of success, but it is still young.
- The Budweiser Garage had a fun immersive brewery tour that included both touch, smell, and sound. and The VR video and was quite engaging. Ift was a fun realization that people were actually bringing things like hops in front of my face so that it would smell like as if i was in the brewery.
- Gatorade had a couple of VR videos in their lab with one somewhat too motion heavy and the other quite enjoyable.
- McLoft by McDonalds used the HTC Vive to bring you inside a Happy Meal box and let you create art using the Vive's tracking capabilities.
- Google Fiber, Samsung, Moveo, New York Times, and others all had their own unique builds with VR that impressed all around.
But the technology isn't everything.
A couple of years ago storytelling was all the buzz at SXSW. That wasn't too far off this year, but now there seems to be (in some cases) deeper emotional connections to the story. now being available. Storytellers, film producers, and content producers creators are bringing people closer to the action than ever before and, in some cases, allowing them the to choose their own way to live in the story being told. It is a beautiful thing.
There was surprising little talk (at least at the places that I went) about Augmented Reality, despite recent announcements of the Microsoft HoloLens and the SXSW announcement of the Toronto based Meta 2. These are very intriguing technologies that are still in their extreme infancy, even in tech savvy circles, but I still thought I would see a lot more about them. Either way, the future is looking bright for virtual reality, so get ready to don that head set and dive into another world.