Could virtual reality become the newest popular medium through which to tell stories?

Though to many people the thought of consuming media through virtual reality (VR) seems like something from a science fiction movie set in the distant future, the mainstream use of this technology could be closer than we think.

According to The Street , Google has just launched a new headset to compete with Samsung, and sales of it are projected to go from 120,000 in 2016 to 2.23 million in 2017. Apple has recently hired one of the leading VR Researchers, Doug Bowman, hinting at their interest in growing this technology. VR and all of its exciting capabilities in storytelling were the subject of a panel this past Friday at the Northside Festival, featuring Director, and Tribeca Film Festival founder, Jane Rosenthal and the CEO of Wired Magazine, Nicholas Thompson

The Northside Innovation and Music Festival, held annually in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, is a hub for experts to share the latest trends and thinking in the intersection of technology with music, media, and a variety of other fields that took place this past weekend. The event was comprised of panels, networking events, an innovation competition, and art installations. 

Quesnay was especially struck by Friday's panel on VR and its prospects for the near future. This exciting new interactive medium, something that is still not incredibly well known in great detail by people outside of the tech and media industries, presents an exciting new enhancement to storytelling.

VR as a new medium

Director Jane Rosenthal and her colleagues are already working to create short vignettes using this medium, and a VR film directed by Alon Benariand Alessandro Nivola and produced by Eko media called “Broken Night” was even featured in the Tribeca Film Festival this past year.  

Technology companies like Eko are working to make this a medium that is usable in the main stream. The company, as described on their website, is “pioneering a new medium where viewers shape the story as it unfolds” and has applied VR to subject matter such as advertising, video gaming, and film." The company is invested in by Intel Capital, Samsung, Sony Pictures, and Warner Music Group.

This new type of film production could change the way that viewers interact with content, from, as Jane Rosenthal described it, “passive consumption to active consumption.” Overall, the panel concluded that VR was working to make media content better and more impactful, and we at Quesnay are excited to see where this new technology will go over the course of the next few years.

For more information on VR, check out the way in which this MIT startup is using VR to improve the lives of elderly people.