The Reality Review

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INFLUENCER: We Are Royale's Loren Judah explores 2019's VR/AR trends and how they'll impact the content creation process
The Reality Review

We’ve all heard a lot of talk around AR and VR over the past year, but our 'Minority Report' future still seems off on some distant horizon. As annoying as that is, let’s not discount how far we’ve come.  

This year, we saw AR used in ​experiential retail events​ and got a peek at ​the future of navigation​. AR still promises a lot, but feels limited in scope by the devices we can experience it on. While the technology is capable of integrating 3D content into our worlds, we either need to hold our phone like we’re filming a very boring movie or put on a headset Mad Max might find appealing. Our imaginations tell us in the future, AR will be integrated into all of our glasses. For those of you who don’t need glasses, better start screwing up your vision now! But here’s the thing, we shouldn’t be designing for a fantasy future experience where we imagine it works better. We should be designing for the devices we know it works on today.  

The market is not in future tech videos shared on social media. It is with all of us, on our personal devices, everywhere we go. Let’s design for 2019 where our phones will help us customise the clothing we wear​ and explore the places we shop. Let AR jump from the phone to the mirrors and customise the look of an entire store. AR will bring us that contextual layer in retail and the world around us that will begin to mix both realities together. Retail won’t die because AR will become its perfect digital companion.  

Meanwhile, VR became more mainstream in 2018 with massive amounts of 360 content and hardware like the Oculus Go. We’ve made great progress on the technology front, breaking down the barriers of entry and letting just about everyone experience these new platforms on devices we use every day. This accessibility brought AR into the retail space and our built environment. In VR, our focus will be set squarely on content. There’s no denying that VR can create an entirely immersive experience, but will the content overcome the isolating hardware? 

VR has built up a following with gamers and early adopters propelling progress for both Vive and Oculus. This year was all about accessibility for lower consumer markets and the Oculus Go was clearly leading the charge. With the exception of a few shared experiences, VR still suffers from perceived isolation when you put that headset on. Only thing is, this may not be a bad thing. In the process of immersion, isolation is a requirement. How else are you going to virtually experience the top of Mt. Everest?  

VR needs that isolation to embrace what makes VR great. If we embrace this, VR doesn’t become a TV replacement, or anything that we’ve ever experienced before. It becomes an entirely new medium and yet another technology we design unique experiences for. It’s not enough to film a movie for VR the same way you would for TV. First of all, you need a 360 camera (​you can find one for $80 nowadays, for heaven’s sake) and you better hide your craft services table. We’re talking about a unique medium that needs unique creative. In 2019, look towards VR for content that ONLY makes sense in VR and its immersive capabilities. The killer app of the year will feature content that everyone will be talking about and can only be seen in VR. Don’t be afraid to make it VR exclusive. This means VR creators should concentrate their efforts on making the best content specifically for VR rather than watering it down for multiple platforms. 

These outlooks demand a deliberate approach and one that embraces the new mediums as they are. As creatives, producers, and marketers going into a new year, let’s embrace the ambiguity with a mission statement that inspires creative exploration: Design for our world today and create the world of tomorrow. 

 


Loren Judah is creative director at​ We Are Royale

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We Are Royale, 1 year ago