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Preview: Coldplay + on Gear VR

The first of what is likely to be many, Coldplay + is an experience that invites you to become part of the act. The user sits front-and-centre on the stage, similar to that of Cirque de Soleil Media’s Hold on to Your Seat, and is offered a unique view into the performance of a globally successful band. The next step is surely giving the user an instrument to play?

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For now, the experience is most definitely passive. The user gets an interesting view of the way the band hold themselves on stage, intimately involved with their movements and actions. The quality of the screen on the Galaxy Note 4 used within Gear VR is remarkable, so much so that it’s possible to see expressions on the artists’ faces as they move between tracks or even different riffs. There’s a genuine feeling of tension as they line-up for the next hit; it’s different from being in the crowd of course, but no less valid a sensation.

The quality of the footage is a saleable point not just to audiences, but to other artists looking to do something new. Filmed in stereoscopic 3D and giving a full 360 degree view with no visible stitching, this is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of live action video on a VR HMD. The potential for other artists to jump on this bandwagon is high, as selling a live recording will no longer simply be cameras filming a concert; they will become invitations to a performance.

Coldplay + was not necessarily the kind of product that many were expecting to appear on Gear VR this early, but it is undoubtedly a path that the VR community understood was set to be followed at some point, The fact that it has come this early is encouraging however, as it means that the potential lack lustre nature of passive experiences can be bypassed and more engaging performances can be delivered to consumers by the time VR becomes commonplace. Either that or the VR community will largely ignore recorded concerts in the same fashion the music buying public ignored Mini-Disc, and experiences such as this will fade into the background fairly quickly.