The Year Ahead in VR
Oculus Creators Blog
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Posted by Kasey Galang
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May 9, 2018
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It's been over a week since F8 and I'm still walking around with a grin like a Cheshire cat. F8 started out with a sincere keynote from Mark and ended with lots of attendee buzz as everyone picked up their new Oculus Gos! In between, I was given a stage to present my view of the next year in VR. It was a great week full of interesting conversations with inspiring VR creators. Here's a quick recap of my session called “The Year Ahead in VR."

tl;dr: The year ahead will be monumental. Add all the shining moments from the past five years in VR plus Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Oculus Go, and this will be the year of reach, choice and VR creators.

Reach

Two major initiatives will help drive consumer adoption of VR this year: Oculus Go and VR social entertainment.

Oculus Go marks the launch of the all-in-one, native VR device - we're calling the category Standalone VR. With Oculus Go, it's super easy to take virtual reality anywhere with no dependencies on PC or wires. At a $199 price point, Oculus Go makes VR more attainable to more audiences.

In addition, Oculus Go is embedded with three flagship social entertainment experiences: Oculus Venues, Oculus Rooms and Oculus TV. In each of these experiences, people will be able to watch, play, and hang out with other fans, friends, and family in VR. Social experiences defy distance and create some of the most memorable moments in VR. As more people have social experiences, they will tell their friends and family. I anticipate these personal referrals will make for more people jumping into VR.

Choice

We are seeing more diverse content come to VR. This is an important change as it allows for broader activities and interests in VR that resonates with a more diverse set people. The categories of choices are growing every day. There are production and education applications that are breaking new ground in how we work and learn. Of course, there are gaming experiences that challenge our patience, quick wits and dexterity. There are application experiences that allow us to explore the universe, improve our approach to meditation, immerse ourselves in our favorite movie, and be front row at our favorite concert. There are 360 videos that bring us closer to people we've never met and parts of the world we've never been. People can learn, work, consume information, share, play, hangout in VR. As there are more types of experiences in VR, it makes VR more compelling to all people.

Getting Started as a VR Creator

They gave me a stage with an audience of VR creators. I couldn't help but share some best practices that I've learned from the VR creators that I've worked with over the years.

If there was one very important tip that I could share, it would be this: Your ability to evoke emotion and responses, to create genuine connections and engagement is unlocked with VR. You have your audiences' full attention.When creating your vision, approach it with a fundamental reimagining of any other way you've had meaningful interactions with people before. Once you land on how you'll show up in VR, your vision will define your approach, design and how you'll measure success.

Approach

Once you've defined your vision, you'll know the necessary levels of presence and immersion you'll need. There are four approaches to VR: Web VR, PC VR, Standalone 3DOF, and Standalone 6DOF.

  • Web VR utilizes online browsers to make immersive media possible. Oculus provides React 360 as a platform to do this.
  • PC VR requires a high-powered computer and makes full immersion possible with high fidelity and presence. You know about Rift, right?
  • Mobile 3DOF sometimes requires a phone but with Oculus Go is a standalone device. It has a controller that allows for core interaction within VR that is single handed movement.
  • Standalone 6DOF is similar to PC with full immersion via presence and fidelity but does not require a PC and is therefore tetherless. Project Santa Cruz is our standalone 6DOF prototype.

Design

Once you've chosen the device or devices you'll target, you can get going on how to make your vision come to life via design. Reminder: reimagine everything and truly build for VR.

  • We are past the point of novelty. You'll need to build with purpose.
  • Make full use of the immersion possibilities of the device(s) you've chosen with the presence of hands, physical movement and voice.
  • Environment and interactivity are super important elements of VR. Be sure to focus a bunch of effort on both.
  • There are three core expressions your VR experience can take: Realism, Fantasy, and Approximation. Try to think about your vision in each of these expressions. There will be one that makes for a more meaningful experience.

Success Metrics

Whether, you're creating VR experiences for internal use or as an avenue for entertainment or brand engagement, it does not need to be a land grab of mindshare. Just like everything in VR, your success metrics should also be rethought. You're not trying to measure the number of eyeballs or butts in seats or impressions. Rather, your measurement of success should be aligned to your vision and then add "meaningful interactions" as a new success metric. Think about all the elements we just discussed in design and flag them as opportunities for meaningful interactions.

Full video here: