How virtual reality has changed the entertainment industry

How virtual reality has changed the entertainment industry

Entertainment is usually associated with immersion and escape, making us forget about reality. Virtual reality (VR) offers precisely the same, but with a massive technological incentive, real-time simulating environment and graphic that sometimes look better than the real world.

What is Virtual Reality – Origin and Concept

As early as 1956, Morton Heilig, planted the seed of simulated environments in the tech sphere with his prototype of Sensorama, the first ever “experience theatre”. The crude concept behind this set up was generation of a fantastical world and mechanical replication of actions of the real world. It’s been six decades since then, and it’d be unmistakable to say that all this time has been a long haul with efforts put in and challenges all accepted by scientists worldwide upon the foundational work of Heilig.

The evolution has led to today’s digital era, where frontiers are using the same ideology in diverse domains of the prevailing age, which include-

• education
• health and medication
• military
• real estate
• training
• business and marketing
• automobile manufacturing and
• aviation

Even so, the industry that is exploiting the most out of visual technologies is that of entertainment, as the fusion of these two industries incredibly exciting, creative and imaginative. But exactly why and how is VR so impactful on the entertainment industry?

The reason is not one. The rationale is discussed thoroughly below, go on reading!

VR gaming

Traditionally, players use either a console controller or a combination of keyboard and mouse to play video games. VR technology allows players to interact directly with the 3D in-game entertainment environment. Recent technological advancements like inclusion of room-scale motion and controllers make VR games more immersive and fun than ever.

The adoption of VR tech by major gaming platforms like Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox and the introduction of mass-market VR headset devices like the HTC Vibe and Oculus Rift have been instrumental to democratizing access to the technology. A classic example of how VR is being focussed upon by game developers is the development of Catan VR, the VR version of iconic 1995 board game Settlers of Catan.

Currently, simulation VR games (shooting, races, and action) are highest in demand; however, content developers are soon expected to saturate the market with a more diversified menu of games. The challenge of converting ideas into engaging gaming remains.

Cinema

Films have always been about creating immersive story-telling and engaging experiences. Many experimental attempts have been made to redesign the traditional style of reporting of who, what, when, where, why and how of information and create an unprecedented experience for the viewers. Adoption of VR tech is one such attempt.

Studios, producers, and directors are all turning their collective attention toward learning and rethinking of ways to use VR to tell stories and immerse moviegoers into giddy adventures. VR experience goes beyond the sedentary entertainment of reading newspaper, web browsing or watching TV, and even traditional theatrics in which it’s mandatory to look forward. In VR, viewers can look in any direction they want and find themselves in the same fantastical environment.

The first ever VR cinema was opened in Amsterdam in 2016. It is plain rooms without any screen, and the audience sits in 360 -degree rotating seats, wearing a head-mounted display. Films are displayed entirely in virtual reality.

IMAX, the center of cinematic technologies recently partnered up with a director/producer Michael Bay (‘Transformers’), video game developer Starbreeze and Google to develop six “virtual reality hubs” around the globe which incorporate stunning cinematography and IMAX’s award-winning vistas.

Music
The music industry is huge. VR technology can be applied to it in diverse forms. Here’s how-

• Videos can be created with the help of 360-degree cameras, like they do at MelodyVR app which is currently available on Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR headsets.

•  Concerts can be of fully-simulated type with the use of virtual environment and avatars of artists. TheWaveVR provides this experience. Superstars including Coldplay, The Weeknd, and Katy Perry have been showing much interest in this technology lately.

•Live concerts can be enjoyed sitting at home through VR. Today, almost all major music festivals including Ultra Music Festival, Mad Cool Festival, Sziget Festival, and Festival Primavera Trompetera have created their own applications for virtual reality for fans. This technology is expected to be one of the most important revenue streams for musicians and producers in the near future.

Amusement parks
VR has taken amusement and theme parks to another level. The most common way to use VR in theme parks is to overlay it onto already existing rides (rollercoaster, drop tower or water slide). A classic example of this is the Iron Dragon roller coaster ride, in which you physically aboard a suspended coaster, but the VR experience sees you flying through an old-tiny village while ogres and orcs attack you.

“The Void” and “The Virtual Arena” are examples of fully immersive VR theme parks, currently loved by thrill seekers.

Conclusion

We like to think of VR tech as a sequel to the concept of entertainment which extensively embraces the cyberspace. The innovative ideas have and will continue to push the boundaries of entertainment to extraordinary niches. It’s going to be interesting to see how further developments in technology meet creativity to generate trendy recreation options.


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