Creating content for virtual reality (VR) poses a different set of challenges to developing for other forms of entertainment such as films, TV or videogames. One of the sessions at F8 addressed these differences, and in particular how designing media and entertainment for the Oculus Go headset varied compared to other platforms.
Isabel Tewes is part of the Content Team at Oculus, where she works on Developer Strategy. At the F8 conference she spoke about how technology can change society, using the invention and development of radio as an example.
Tewes posited that VR is at something of a turning point, as people and companies examine how it can be used. She noted that when the Samsung Gear VR was released, people were spending longer on Gear VR as opposed to other mobile apps which would only be used briefly before being closed.
Some interesting statistics were shown, one showing that 40% of Samsung Gear VR users don’t engage with videogames, and another showed that 99% of users did consume video. In total, 83% of time in VR was spent in media and entertainment apps.
This information informed the creation of the Oculus go, as the designers had to consider the ergonomics of the headset if people were spending long periods wearing it.
“We wanted to make sure that the media and entertainment really shines for anyone who is enjoying it in VR.” Tewes said as she presented the external speaker that is built in to the Oculus Go to provide spatial audio to users.
To expand the reach of the Oculus Go, it has been made compatible with mobile platforms. As such, users don’t need a specific phone to use the headset. The companion app is available to almost any iOS or Android phone.
“We think that the ability to bring viewers into the scene of a story can forever change the way journalists do their jobs.” Tewes said, speaking on the partnership Oculus has with news broadcasters such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. The immersion of VR can give people a different perspective and let them understand the events as they occur.
Oculus Go could be part of a change in the media and entertainment landscape. Whatever new developments are in the VR space, VRFocus will be there to cover it.