Should your brand get in on the virtual reality boom?

image1 (1)Virtual reality has been a hot topic at SXSW, but Lee Spencer-Michaelsen asks should you be getting in at the silent film stage? 

At DT, we love playing with new tech toys in the lab, and for the last few years, Oculus Rift has been one of the more rousing pieces of technology.

Why? VR’s potential is exponential. Although its background is gaming-centric, it’s the current movement around VR that’s becoming truly mind bending.

VRTrailblazers in the VR Domain, a panel of VR experts at SXSW, including, Jason Rubin (Oculus VR), Wolfgang Bergmann (ARTE Deutschland), and Thomas Wallner (Deep Inc), discuss the future of VR and how its industry is only now being built from the ground up. It’s up to all of us to define the virtual world’s place in our world.

Passionate creators are dabbling heavily with a range of VR kits; new hardware seems to be coming out every day, even through DIY VR like Google Cardboard, turning your own mobile phone into VR for about $5.

There’s been much cross-pollination between game, film, music, and everything in between, but nothing has yet been technically, creatively, or commercially successful to put VR on everyone’s heads. Who’s going to crack VR and create their own Angry Birds moment that put smartphones into the hands of the masses?

The industry is still very much in its developmental stages, and we’re seeing some abstract, weird stuff from creators, like The Chair.

It’s in no way flying under the radar either. The big players have their eyes on it, however, are moving slow. Jason Rubin says, “it’s the smaller groups of developers and creative thinkers who have the opportunity to leap frog the big guys, and become billionaires like Rovio.”

If done for the right reasons, why can’t it be a switched on brand? Agencies need to guide brands to become these leaders. Brands can’t just come in at this from a traditional angle, creating ads for VR.

imgresIn saying that, I wonder what a ‘last longer in the bed’ ad would look like. They need to be thinking of themselves as content creators, part of the community who’s currently defining VR.

Content is going to grow the industry just as much as the technical capabilities, if not more. A completely new type of experience is  being pioneered, where the viewer becomes a totally immersed character, rather than an observer in a trance.

Nothing has made us such a participator in story as VR. Gaming, amongst other interactive experiences, have been doing this for a while, but with this hyper level of immersion, what else is possible?

Being in the ‘silent film era’ of VR as filmmaker Thomas Wallner puts it, is exciting. Something is going to come around and blow everyone else out of the water, like Angry Birds did. All I want to do now is get back to Australia and start creating content for VR. Who’s with me?

  • Lee Spencer-Michaelsen is a creative at DT

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