The Reality of Virtual Reality / by FPM Team

  • Last week, as the New York Times launched its virtual reality application NYT VRmagazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein said, "By creating a 360-degree environment that encircles the viewer, virtual reality creates the experience of being present within distant worlds, making it uniquely suited to projects … that speak to our senses of empathy and community." (Note: the content was developed using Immersion Media’s IM360 platform and is accessible via the websmartphones and the Google Cardboard viewer.
  • Separately, when announcing a virtual reality collaborationAssociated Press Director of Interactive and Digital News Production Paul Cheung said, "Virtual reality is an intimate platform that allows the audience to experience the journalist's unique perspective of the story” and RYOT Chief Operating Officer Molly Swenson said, "We see the future of news as immersive and action-oriented. Philosophically and technologically, virtual reality is the best tool we've found for helping people really understand and connect with the headlines they read every day.” (Note: RYOT's media efforts include creating documentary-style virtual reality films.)
  • In addition, while discussing corporate earnings, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Virtual reality has the potential to be the next computing platform that changes all of our lives. It's important also to recognize that this is going to grow slowly, like computers and mobile phones when they first arrived. So we're committed to Oculus and virtual reality for the long-term … and with Oculus, we're in a great position to begin delivering a new generation of shared immersive experiences, we plan to ship the Rift headset early next year” 
  • and Nvidia Corp. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said, "We built the premier platform for VR for both PC gaming as well as professional graphics. As far as financial is concerned, realize that the shipment hasn't really started yet and I think it's prudent to wait and see. But my expectation long-term is that VR is going to be a very powerful growth driver for us."

OUR TAKE

  • Virtual reality technology often is associated with computer games, will increasingly be applied in many other areas including educationentertainmentscientific research and communication.
  • The complex nature of developing and delivering virtual reality content will require new types of hardwaresoftware and content creation skills – some are in limited supply, some do not exist yet.
  • While Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Nvidia’s Huang suggested that initial growth may be slow, the business opportunities are likely significant – and will attract many investors and innovators.