Why VR is reaching a mature state in 2019
Yondr has gone out to the technology forefront and returns with some interesting updates on how virtual reality is evolving and what it means for 2019.
First, the hardware news, because shiny, new things, create a lot of excitement:
HP is poised to launch their new headset, the Reverb, which has exceptionally sharp resolution. The better the display, the more that the vision field can convey to the brain that the viewer is in a new reality, upping the “transportative” effect. The headset also includes a “halo” fitting which means the top has a circular crown which rests centrally on top of the head.
Oculus Rift S has five cameras, more pixels, and a more comfortable strap (also with a halo design). One of the cameras sits on top so offers inside-out tracking.
After months of secrecy, Oculus Quest will be shipped on May 21. It is the company’s second standalone VR headset and all-in-one gaming system. Now with unprecedented power and a promise of 50 titles. Pre-order yours through the following link.
Luckily for the Quest, it has a surprise superpower: Beat Saber.
If you can remember the addictive nature of PacMan or Gran Turismo, you will understand the magic that Beat Saber holds for VR. Beat Saber could be the killer app that gets the entire family donning headsets. It calls to mind the fun of Guitar Hero or arcade rhythm games.
And once VR crosses into the sacred space of the living room, it won’t be long before families start looking for cinematic experiences. Families won’t be disappointed: a large library of wholesome, educational fare from National Geographic awaits plus age-appropriate stories like Age of Sail. Combined with 360 and VR advertising, the exposure looks promising.
Location, Location, Location
SXSW, in Austin, Texas this past May 8 - 17th, contributed to the push for more location-based events (LBEs), too, by proving that the need for cinematic is there. Lines snaked across the Marriott (where SXSW’s Virtual Cinema was held) to see impeccably curated immersive cinema. But it’s not just SXSW—Tribeca, Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Berlin have all jumped aboard the cinematic VR train, offering more discussion, bigger showcases and special coverage. This is even the case in China, where Sandbox Immersive is set to hold a VR festival in June. (We’re still waiting on Oostende, Brussels and Ghent to take up this trend!)
Now that LBEs are gaining in stature, one recently launched gamechanger to the cinematic experience is Iconic Engine’s 4D Holometric Chair which debuted at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this past April 2-9, 2019.
Says Amit Chopra, Iconic Engine’s CEO, “We are living in a time when technology obsessed consumers demand to be wowed, and content-creators, distributors and exhibitors must find ways to drive consumer engagement while also running profitable and sustainable businesses.” Chopra says the 4D Holometric chair can do it all, “Our breakthrough technology brings content to life in new and powerfully memorable ways by allowing consumers to move around in the content while experiencing the full-body experience of our 4D Holometric Chair.”
Veering to 180
Another reason that VR is making inroads in 2019 is that 180VR, a subset of 360 filmmaking, is easy to create and produce. Because viewers are not prone to continually turn around, the focus has shifted to storytelling in the viewer’s front field of vision, while maintaining the experiential elements of immersive cinema (meaning 180VR is still very different than its traditional film counterpart).
Chris Bobotis, Head of Immersive for Adobe, notes that 180VR is significantly less expensive to make (there’s no stitching the spherical imagery together and no gargantuan data needs). Funds that went to complex technology and data plans can be shifted to storytelling. Also helpful, creators can work with Adobe Premiere Pro and AfterEffects, common programs that can deliver 180VR. But now the result is supported by Google and Facebook—who miraculously opted for one shared format!. The best part: 180VR still displays beautifully in headset, too. This will lower the threshold for getting great content made, distributed and seen. For advertising purposes, 180VR is blockbuster news!
VR means “Buy”
Closer to home, we should be seeing some interesting developments regarding retail. A recent study from the VUB by Helena Van Kerrebroeck proved that VR/AR changes the way consumers respond to product differently: they want to buy more! This finding was true whether an exotic travel destination or a product. The sense of being close, the added dimensionality of VR gave consumers significantly more incentive to purchase over regular photos.
All this means for 2019 is VR is reaching more people with notable technology upgrades and a renewed focus on cinematic with better hardware, more addictive games, family viewing, and easier distribution. For advertising and marketers there’s the growth of 180VR which means more compelling (and affordably produced) content in lieu of ordinary video or traditional films. All in all, 2019 is proving to be a banger year for VR (and yondr is ready for it).