As part of VRFocus’ current Better-Than-Reality-Awards, each category features an industry ambassador to delve into a particular aspect of their subject. Today, Rhythmatic developer Blackwall Labs looks at the field of XR influencers. Of course, don’t forget to cast your vote in The Better-Than-Reality-Awards now.
Content Creators, Youtubers, Streamers, Bloggers and XR influencers come in many forms, but their importance to the industry and ecosystem cannot be overstated. From the comedic approach of YouTubers such as “Up Is Not Jump” to the more informative takes from YouTube duo “Cas and Chary” all the way through to the business-focused podcasts of award-winning director “Alex Makes VR”, each influencer brings something to the industry, delivered in their own unique style.
Most video-format influencers started in VR the way we all did, positioning sensors, dealing with tracking issues or trying not to trip over wires; but as VR tech has progressed and advanced, so have they. These days’ creators are producing their content with standalone headsets, such as the recently launched Oculus Quest 2, or utilising green screen mixed reality approaches to enable their viewers to feel more immersed in the worlds they are exploring.
These modern day methods of content creation show the accessibility and wonder that VR has to offer, exposing their audiences to new tech and helping break the industry into the mainstream.
Alex of “Alex makes VR” set out her stall in a different part of the industry, using her skills and experience to offer tangible guidance to start-ups and entrepreneurs, bringing new blood into the eco-system and as a result helping to fuel innovation.
XR influencers have had a huge role in the growth of the industry, but what can the industry do to help them on their mission to bring XR to the masses? And what innovative features can developers provide influencers to help them grab the attention of their viewers? It would appear that no one is currently doing more to support than Oculus, who has been providing early access to hardware and experiences, but what can smaller development teams do to help?
Speaking with Cas of “Cas and Chary” there are ways for smaller organisations to provide support. Cas explained during a recent interview the pitfalls and challenges of capturing VR content, the most significant of which being the need for the creator to keep their head still as much as possible, to ensure the content being recorded is clear for their audience. However, if developers made a conscious effort to keep creators in mind whilst developing, these pitfalls could be a thing of the past.
Recently, here at Blackwall Labs, we have undergone early development on a new title Dead Quiet. Realising the importance and symbiotic relationship between developers and influencers, we wanted to build a suite of features to not only help influencers capture footage but also give them new ways of interacting with their audience.
In Dead Quiet (coming 2021) we have implemented camera stabilisation techniques to give creators more freedom when recording content. Alongside tools to make their lives easier, we also wanted to give their viewers new ways of interacting with the videogame, even if they don’t own a VR set up themselves. In Dead Quiet viewers and spectators will have access to information that the player doesn’t, allowing them to help or sabotage, adding a new level of engagement and audience participation.
With VR getting closer to the fabled goal of “The Oasis” with each passing year, I’m excited to see what innovations will be utilised by XR influencers in 2021.