The Rise of Virtual Reality

We all know the power of sight, sound and motion in media. What if we could add a fourth dimension? Often, scientists associate the fourth dimension with the future, so let’s go there.

Imagine you are on a spaceship. Out of the darkness, everything is made of metal. You reach out to touch a wall of buttons, unafraid of the potential dangers that may lie ahead. After all, you’re not really on a spaceship…

Then you hear breathing. It’s labored, muffled yet distinctive, and you feel the source of it standing next to you: Darth Vader. You shake his hand. You pat him on the back. Maybe you reach for your lightsaber. This virtual world is your oyster.

Sure, I’m taking some liberties with what may be coming from Lucasfilm upon the next Star Wars release, but they are silently working on it now. At the secret ILMxLAB, engineers and artists are developing a virtual reality (VR) project starring the Sith Lord himself. A project that will put you in the movie, interacting and behaving as if you’re a character.

Thanks to the development of head mounted display (HMD) devices like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Immy and Google Cardboard, we are on the cusp of a revolution.

We can’t simply repurpose our content for this space. VR has the potential to become a majorly disruptive technology in gaming, experiential marketing, branded content, storytelling, movies, big data and beyond. Once the nut has been cracked, expect seismic shifts across industries.

What does VR promise? It promises immersive experiences: starting this November, the World Chess Championship will be the first sports competition featured. But, what next? Field seats at a football game. A getaway to Fiji without the 40 hours on an airplane. Surgical training without putting a life at risk. And, of course, a one-on-one with one of the world’s most iconic villains, Darth Vader.

These virtual worlds are hyper-experiential. VR creates an illusion where you feel like you’re there, interacting and listening to a world that doesn’t exist in the physical sense, but feels real nonetheless. Explore evidence at crime scene. Listen in on conversations of characters. In the CSI of the future, you will be the detective.

Rumors about Halcyon from SyFy Channel tell us this is coming to the states in mere months.
The fourth dimension is upon us, and it will bring us into the future.