Lots happening this week in VR. During the Oculus trial, Mark Zuckerberg details how he expects the VR industry to evolve over the next decade, saying it will take this long to reach its prime. Sundance’s New Frontier exhibit sees premieres of VR films from Oculus Story Studio, Baobab Studios, Juant and Sports Illustrated.
Brands are using AR to improve sports broadcasting– from James Harden shooting hoops while wearing Spectacles to Fox News using AR during the Super Bowl to overlay graphics onto the field.
VR Sundance impresses attendees, as Wareable notes the increase of VR series and VR for social good. Attendees also got to hang out with a hologram of Jon Hamm, thanks to 8i’s augmented reality technology.
A report found that VR gambling is expected to grow 800% in the next five years, while another study revealed that 21% of marketers are interested in implementing virtual reality.
Google continues to make big moves into the VR space– check out Inverse Victor Fuste’s detailed account of Google Spotlight Stories’ vision for the future of digital storytelling. Google also opens its Daydream VR platform to all developers. Here’s a full recap below.
After months of restricting development on Daydream, Google is now letting anyone submit an app or experience for the company’s mobile VR platform. Google wants developers to focus on user comfort and hopes that the influx of developers helps it catch up to Samsung’s Gear VR.
Former Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra will join Facebook as the president of virtual reality. Mark Zuckerberg stated that Barra shares his belief that VR/AR will be the next major computing platform.
NBC has officially ordered a pilot for Reverie, a new TV dramatic thriller series based on the launch of an advanced virtual reality program that inevitably goes horribly wrong.
Google Spotlight Stories made a splash with Pearl, which received an Academy Award nomination. But this is just the beginning of Google Spotlight Stories, created by Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division, and their plan for digital storytelling. Pearl was the first Spotlight Story to be done in all 5 of their storytelling formats: First, there’s 360 linear video, which is your standard YouTube 360 video, which features no interaction. Secondly, there’s the 360 interactive video. Third, there’s the smartphone based VR (such as Google Cardboard), which is essentially the same as the 360 interactive version, but with a headset component. Fourth, the viewer is allowed positional movement within the virtual space. Lastly, there’s your standard run of the mill 2D version.
Tim Chang has a novelty test for VR developers: “Would your VR/AR application be used habitually? Would people use it every week, every day even, a year later, after the initial novelty of the demo has worn off? Would your application, frankly, do just fine on an existing tablet, phone or laptop screen without an HMD?” He sees major VR opportunities in retail, fashion, hyperlocal info, social media and virtual tourism.
“Pearl”, a VR film created by Google, has received an Academy Award nomination for best animated short. “Pearl” is the first VR flick up for an Oscar, but Oculus has taken home two Emmys for “Henry” and “Sleeping Hollow.”
According to a Juniper study, VR gambling is expected to rise 800% in the next five years driven by “high rollers” using the technology. The total number of bets from VR gambling will grow from just over 47.2 million in 2016 to just under 423 million by 2021.
The New Museum and Rhizome just launched a VR exhibition that’s available to everyone as a free downloadable VR app called “First Look: Artists’ VR.” The app features artists who are bullish on VR– The New Museum has been pioneering VR programs since 2003 when Rhizom, a prominent digital art platform, became their affiliate in residence.
Cisco collaborated with Goodby Silverstein & Partners and an interior designer, a space explorer, an astronautics professor and a travel expert to imagine what a space hotel might look like in a future age of galactic tourism and turn it into a 360 experience.
Report Finds Marketers Wanting to Step Up Innovation
By Laurie Fullerton @ The Drum
According to a Yes Lifecycle Marketing report, a very low percentage of marketers are currently using VR (8%) or AR (7%). Similarly, 21% are interested in implementing virtual reality and 25% augmented reality. However, more than half of marketers said both virtual reality and augmented reality do not apply to their organization (57 and 55%, respectively).
Oculus Rooms is Facebook’s VR social experiment, where you can hang out with virtual friends in three distinct areas: the application launcher/TV area, chat area and games area. Right now the experience is only available on Gear VR, with it debuting on Oculus Rift later this year.
VR at Sundance 2017 was more than eye-catching experiments: the medium showed signs of maturity. VR films got longer, there was a rise in VR series (a revival of “Lawnmower Man” making the biggest splash), and VR film for a better world (most notably “An Inconvenient Sequel” by Condition One and “Bashir’s Dream” by RYOT).
This was Sundance‘s New Frontier Program’s 11th year, but an incredibly important year as it followed a full year of VR hardware advancements. A big topic of conversation was the need for compelling episodic content– what “I Love Lucy” was for TV or what “Pokemon Go” was for AR. That being said, attendees were very impressed by VR content at this year’s Sundance, from “Dear Angelica” to “Miyubi.”
VR startup 8i used augmented reality to create a hologram of Jon Hamm- or a HoloHamm- to accompany the premiere of Marjorie Prime at Sundance. The AR activation could come to life on most smartphones, and it was more cost-effective to create than VR because it layers digital images over real life, rather than creating an entire 3D world.
Facebook Uses Pop Up Stores to Get People Stoked about VR
By Julie Bort @ Business Insider
For the past few weeks, Facebook has been demonstrating its virtual reality Oculus Rift technology in various pop-up stores around the country, hoping its $3-$4 billion bet on VR pays off. However, the reporter explained that the headset-only experience was not compelling enough to get her to purchase a headset.
Spectacles are an integral part of the Trolli candy activation, created by Periscope ad agency. It’s called “Beardsketball” and requires players to wear Spectacles so they can shoot hoops into a basket made out of Harden’s beard. Beardsketball will go on a year-long tour of the US, including some appearances with James Harden. Harden will also wear Spectacles during tonight’s shoot-around, linked to Trolli‘s Snapchat account.
In addition to including 4K and 8K cameras and “be the player” replays, Fox News will use augmented reality for the first time ever. Skycam, the robotic camera suspended above the field with wires, will include AR cameras to insert a live first-down line on the field so stadium fans can see what viewers see on TV.
During the Brand Storytelling conference in Utah, Haagen-Dazs screened a preview of the Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees project, which uses VR to shrink the viewer down to the size of Honey Bees. Haagen-Dazs is working with Reach Agency on the 3-5 minute experience, which will debut this summer.
Check out all of the VR activations throughout Manhattan, from Madam Tussaud’s Ghostbusters experience to Samsung’s flagship store to Brooklyn’s Vrbar VR arcade.
Time Inc. Searches for a Brand to Help Launch Its Mount Everest VR Film
By Kristina Monllos @ Adweek
Time Inc. secured rights to Sports Illustrated‘s Capturing Everest VR film, and now it wants a brand partner to make the release as large as possible. Time will likely debut the film with the Sports Illustrated title sometime during the 2017 climbing season.
Today’s Sundance premiere of Dear Angelica shows that VR filmmaking can be serious and artistic. The film is created by Oculus Story Studio, the VR film division of Facebook’s Oculus. It’s the first animated film created entirely in VR, using a new tool called Quill.
Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in the Oculus case revealed how he expects the VR industry to grow. The industry will need five to ten years to get where it needs to be, which is why Facebook is pouring $3 billion into VR. Zuckerberg says a lack of cross-platform communication is holding up advancements, pointing to Apple’s and Google’s closed platforms. BI Intelligence forecasts shipments of VR headsets to spike by 1047% year-over-year (YoY) to 8.2 million in 2016. According to research from Deloitte, the VR space to exceed $1 billion in revenue for the first time.
Baobab Studios, which raised $31 million to create VR stories, is premiering Asteroids! at Sundance this week. The 10-minute film, available on Vive, is a lesson in morals and empathy. Baobab’s Chief Creative Officer Eric Darnell left Hollywood because he felt that VR is the best storytelling medium for reflecting the science of communication.
Ahead of Sundance, Jaunt unveiled five new scripted series including a sci-fi thriller, a stoner comedy and an adaptation of cult classic The Lawnmower Man. Jaunt CEO George Kliavkoff says that 2016 was “the final year of experimentation, and every indication is that 2017 will be the year of action and adoption.” Jaunt will have a large presence at Sundance New Frontier, where it will show several VR projects including RYOT‘s Bashir’s Dream.
HTC Vive announced its “VR for Impact” program, a $10 million fund which will support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. HTC’s Vive initiative is meant to fund VR projects that boost awareness and education about social issues and provoke direct action.
Time Inc. and Sports Illustrated premiered Capturing Everest, a VR documentary about Summiting Mt. Everest, at Sundance. Capturing Everest will be available on Sports Illustrated‘s digital properties over the next few weeks.
Each weekday, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the VR/AR monetization platform and ad network.