The Ball Is Starting To Roll
The Ball Is Starting To Roll
The past few weeks in the virtual reality world have offered us some pretty exciting announcements. With news coming in from some pretty predominant and influential institutions in media, all of which adding up to give us a sense that the ball is really starting to roll for VR. One of the big moves to get things off the ground, and in to the eyes of the wider public, was made recently by The New York Times. The influential magazine has released an App for Google Cardboard that will expand the foot print of Virtual Reality in media, Further widening the scope of the technologies role in our future. In fact, 1 million people received a version of Google Cardboard with their New York Times subscription this weekend.
The aim of the NYTVR app, that users can access through the cardboard VR viewer, is to provide a platform from which their audience are be able to experience exciting and eye opening content in this new medium. One of the first projects to debut on the app is The Displaced, which takes the form of a 10 minute VR film, made in collaboration with film studio VRSE. The Displaced provides the viewer with a unique window in to the lives of three refugee children, opening with the following statement:
“Nearly 60 million people around the world have been driven from their homes by war and persecution – more than at any time since world war II. Half are children.“
The film then takes you in to the living environment of these children, which is both haunting and gripping at the same time. It made me think back to all of those times as a kid that you wished you could jump through to the other side of the screen, removing the glass barrier so you could run around with your favorite TV characters.
This lands us at the realization that this is exactly what VR will allow us to do. Only, in the case of The Displaced, the story on the other side of the screen is one of a heartwarming innocence, caught up in world of violent dissonance, which in fact makes you wish the opposite. Instead, you wish it were possible to pull these children out to the other side of the screen, so they too could share a different perspective on the world that exists beyond their own reality.
The Displaced is another example of the power of VR as a medium and how it can be used as a tool make the virtual become real. A comment made on the films Youtube page reads:
“At first I thought that VR was going to be some cheep gimmick but after watching this and moving the camera around it really gave me a sense of place which made this story that much more real. I really feel sympathetic for these children that have to go through this struggle and I truly hope for a much better life for them all in the future.“
Virtual Reality used in this way brings a whole new meaning to ‘Walking in someone else’s shoes’, as using it for this kind of application offers us a unique opportunity to venture on paths that were previously hard or dangerous places to reach.
The news from The New York Times also coincides with another announcement that will further the reach of VR, with official news that Youtube will now be fully supporting virtual reality video for Google Cardboard users.
This is all big steps for virtual reality as a whole, as we are now starting to see a real movement come together behind the technology. This, coupled with the announcement of amazing PSVR titles that came from Paris Games week, shows some real promise for the future of VR.
Robinson: The Journey is a title that really seems to be pulling out all the stops when it comes to fully utilizing the powerful new tool that manifests itself as VR. The visually stunning adventure, “achieved with Cry Engine”, is built for VR and is also another example that the guys at Crytek really know what they are doing when it comes to visual fidelity. But not only are they seeking to deliver high quality visuals, they are also putting an emphasis on the narrative of the experience itself, check out the amazing trailer for the title here.