For all you Star Wars geeks out there (myself included) Disney announced an upcoming Star Wars VR experience coming to some of their locations, including Disneyland Resort, Disney Springs and Walt Disney World. Lucasfilms and The Void have partnered to bring “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” which will be a unique untethered attraction that let’s you play with your friends while allowing you to move freely about. This type of interactive experience is absolutely massive for the VR industry as a whole and could bring a new chapter of virtual reality to Theme Parks. Let’s hope we get to swing a lightsaber!
With the recent closure of Altspace VR, many social vr fans were heartbroken and disappointed from the news that the company ran out of money to continue on. One thing that adds a lot to the vr landscape is the ability to interact with others, especially in virtual reality, it’s almost like the beginning days of AOL and CompuServe but without the 14.4k baud modems, floppy disks and 2D chatrooms.
On a positive note, a recent announcement from Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life just stepped into social vr with a project currently in open beta called Sansar. This is a step in the right direction for virtual reality as a whole and many companies are betting that social vr will soon become the big player in the vr space, mainly Mark Zuckerberg.
Sansar will have to compete with Facebook and other social vr platforms, but the project seems to be bringing some unique experiences to the table. Currently Sansar gives users the ability to play with hundreds of virtual experiences from multiplayer games to visiting landmarks and historic sites, to virtual hangouts with friends. There will be private experiences that users can utilize for designated groups, and public experiences open to everyone who wants to join.
Sansar will also allow users to create their own VR experiences through the program which should make for some very interesting adventures, good or bad.
Currently Sansar is available in open beta for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and for Windows PCs. For more information, visit Sansar’s official website below to signup for the open beta.
From Felix & Paul Studios and in collaboration with Funny or Die comes Miyubi, a full length 40 minute VR film that puts you inside the mind and body of a Japanese toy robot, a.k.a. you’re Miyubi and it’s pretty fantastic.
This is a big step up for VR film as a whole and it’s starting to show the true potential of this medium, not to mention the large dose of comedy as each of the actors were cast perfectly for their roles in this.
Some of the takes were long enough to really put you inside the world of Miyubi, and at times you really think that you’re watching an actual family through the eyes of this robot. The genius move was as Miyubi’s battery gets low, and eventually dies, that’s a cut to the next scene and it works really well with the transitions throughout the film.
Overall Miyubi was an exceptional experience and takes things up a notch for VR as a film medium, the only down side is that 40 minutes in VR can be a long time, and even though Miyubi as a whole was amazing from start to finish, some people might need a mini-break half way through because of the long length of the film. Don’t let the 40 minute time length detour you though, it’s one of the best VR film experiences to date (personal preference of course).
The 69th Emmy Awards has nominated 3 VR Titles for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. Considering how new VR is as a medium, it’s exciting to see recognition for these projects and the people behind them.
On the list is the VR Short from Oculus Studios called “Dear Angelica” which features Geena Davis and Mae Whitman.
Also nominated was Mission:ISS from Oculus & Magnopus which takes you into orbit on the International Space Station.
The third nominee was “The People’s House” by Felix & Paul Studios starring Barack and Michelle Obama, taking you on a personal tour of the White House.
Ready Player One is a cult classic, of course if you haven’t read the book, now is a good time to visit your local bookstore or online retailer *cough*Amazon because you might be missing out on one of the coolest sci-fi novels in recent years (personal opinion of course.)
Ready Player One is a sci-fi novel set in a bleak dystopian future, the year is 2044 and Wade Watts a teenage VR nerd finds his way into adventure and of course danger. Not to spoil the book, there’s a lot of 80’s nostalgia which seems like a perfect fit for Steven Spielberg at the helm for this upcoming film adaption.
If we know one thing, Spielberg doesn’t mess around with his film projects and has a decent track record with completely blowing away audiences through immersion and storytelling. If anything, VR hardware and mainstream consumption of VR devices should see a spike after this film comes out, which in turn will be very good for the VR industry as a whole.
After going through extensive content on the PSVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, I weigh in on some of the coolest VR Short Film experiences I’ve witnessed so far.
What the future holds for VR Films is truly exciting, and what we have already has been immersive and mesmerizing, if you have any VR shorts to recommend, please let us know in the comments below!
In no particular order:
The Rose and I (Vive, Oculus)
Pearl (HTC Vive) Some ppl were able to play it using SteamVR with their Oculus rift
Dear Angelica (Oculus Rift)
After diving into the HTC Vive and downloading a boat load of content, I showcase 5 fun and free VR experiences that should put a smile on your face and a tear down your cheek especially if you’re watching Pearl… 🙂
So, in no particular order…
NVIDIA’s Funhouse VR
The Lab VR
Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine
Pearl (Oscar Nominated VR Short Film)
After diving into the Oculus Rift and downloading enough content to make any hard-drive scream “Bloody Mary!” I narrow down my favorite 5 VR experiences for the Oculus Rift thus far.
*Note: All of these downloads were free with the exception of a few saying “Free for a Limited Time.” So…Download them quick so you can get them for free as well!