Will virtual reality transform the entertainment industry?
By Joe Harker
Virtual reality technology continues to become more popular, and new ways to use VR are being suggested. Darcy Antonellis, CEO of Vubiquity, believes that virtual reality will transform our lives and has a significant part to play in the future of the entertainment industry.
Forbes reports that VR is still a "zero billion dollar industry", but suggests that it will not be like that for long. Lots of money is being invested in VR without significant returns, but that is predicted to change in the near future. The high cost to the public associated with buying VR equipment could be offset by access to VR technology without ownership. Cinemas could have VR screenings where people use VR headsets owned by the cinema, although there might be some reluctance to use a headset that dozens of other people have already worn.
The use of VR in cinemas could be a major shift in the way we view entertainment. Jeff Bridges wants a third Tron film to be "the first virtual reality movie". The longest VR film currently available is the 40 minute long Miyubi, from Felix & Paul Studios. A feature length Tron film viewed in VR would be a massive step forward for cinema. Bridges said: "I hope that happens. I think Joe's got the script and everything, you know.
"Yeah, I don't know that I'm supposed to talk about it or not. I don't know. It should be the first virtual reality movie, you know? Wouldn't that be cool, to see Tron in that world?"
Films are not the only form of entertainment that could be making more use of VR in the future. Video game developers are becoming more comfortable with incorporating VR into their products. Nintendo have introduced VR to their popular Mario Kart series. The game is currently limited to arcades in Japan, but people can play an emulated version on the Nintendo Wii if they have an Oculus Rift VR headset. It may not be long before VR headsets are common parts of playing video games.
Will VR technology transform the entertainment industry any time soon, or do we still have a long way to go before big changes are seen?