Powerful, yet limited
The VHRAM shows how much content for VR has evolved over the last past years. In the beginning, no one really knew how to tell a story and guide a viewer through it in this new medium. And although both experiences chose completely different ways to do so, they work really well.
However, one thing they have in common: you experience them alone. It’s an isolated experience. This does not only results in a low visitor throughput at the festival but is one of the biggest issues for VR. Being alone isn’t as fun as a shared experience.
Breaking the isolation
That’s why the adoption of Augmented Reality is much higher right now. It overlays over reality so you’re not disconnected from it.
Apple (and Google) has been pushing really hard into AR for a couple of years now and they understand that AR is about interactivity and human connection.
At WWDC this year, they showed an AR version of Minecraft, that two people could play simultaneously in the same room. They could interact with each other, talk to each other and had a great time together.
It’s especially interesting because Apple’s new disrupting product is rumored to be an AR device. To solve the chicken and egg problem, Apple is providing developers with powerful tools like ARKit and Reality Creator to create AR experiences for iOS that can later be ported over to ‘Apple Glass’. So when they finally introduce Apple Glass, customers will have a big variety of experiences to choose from.
That there is room for improvement when it comes to AR glasses manifests itself in the billion-dollar hype that is Magic Leap. After building up anticipation for years, they finally released a first hardware version last year. I had the chance to try it out at VRHAM and was very disappointed by it. The field of view is so small that any immersion breaks immediately.
What I really enjoyed, however, was Oculus Quest, the newly released standalone headset by Facebook. It combines VR with AR elements and comes with two controllers as well. At VRAHM, I played Beat Saber, which is like a mix of Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja. It was stupendously fun.
I just hope the next version comes with multiplayer.