Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Monetising Virtual Reality

I’m on the train back from a conference where I was privileged enough to be part of a panel alongside top guys from the BBC, Unity and Dubit, we discussed and interrogated the money making roadmap for Virtual Reality (VR).

It was interesting and much fun, not least because it’s something I believe is here to stay (no surprise to those of you that follow me), but eyebrow raising too in that the focus across the industry is steering quickly to ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) rather than considering the fact that we haven’t really nailed the craft, purpose or immersion factor yet.

I was asked afterwards by several people; ‘What are your top tips for getting into VR and where is the money?’ (mainly in the same breath) and so thought I’d distill the panel into a post… here goes.

First things first; as with any good content (or business), a VR experience is only as good as the idea(s) at the core. Crack a brilliant concept first and the money will follow (one way or another). During my career I’ve worked for some of the top agencies in the world, of these two spring to mind; one was focused on money first and idea second, another ideas first and money second. The latter is acing it, the first is arguably losing it’s identity, staff and direction. Enough said.

Secondly, again you’ll see the parallel here; you have to build trust. Trust in the medium is growing but headsets aren’t about to fly off the shelf just yet, it’s a slow burn but it will reap it’s reward.  The ‘jazz hands’ have been and gone, the next phase on the roadmap is about creating brilliant and relevant experiences, VR is about immersion not reach. Get this bit right and scale (therefore money) will follow.

Third up; consider the right investment and return model. You can; create an app based service and tie subscription to it, you can launch with experiential then move to freemium and start an economy of scale from there, you can take an AR in-road with an upgrade model, sponsorships, partnerships, branded content… as with any new medium there are many money making ways. However, as with any medium, one will apply to your objectives more than the other. Explore and choose carefully.

It’s a bit ABC but thats because really truly, the basics aren’t actually all that complicated. The playground is big, experimentation is happening, trailblazers are lighting up the way. Those that keep their head but jump in and concentrate on; brilliance, trust and effectiveness (in that order), will be the ones to make their millions in this medium.

See you there.

Minecraft Money

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the voice inside my head told me to do it

Psssst

I’ve been trying to work out how to deliver whispers through experiences.

No I haven’t finally lost the plot, though you’re forgiven for thinking so but it has got me thinking about what we need to bring together to do this.

Binaural sound is trending at the moment, though largely delivered through bigger immersive experiences or using 360 video and normal headphones, which is ace and puts you in the moment more than one directional sound can.

But it’s not enough for me. I want to take this one step further and completely blur the lines between visual and sound effects so that they’re delivered together seamlessly…

Imagine a VR headset with built in bone conduction audio that would give you complete visual and audio 360… still with me? Good.

This really would take you to the next level of immersion and rumor has it something is being trialled, which I am very excited about…

Immersive storytelling is about to get a whole lot more… well immersive.

 

vogtk

found on imgflip.com –  thank you 

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VIRTUALLY HUMAN

I love as much as the next person donning a head set and immersing myself in a world of fantasy where I can fly around on my very own dragon and slay my enemies, an experience that envelops my physical and sensory powers, transporting me to a space and time beyond my real identity.

But this is fast becoming just a norm, scary? Maybe… maybe not.

VR is winning over on mere fiction; it challenges the mind, it challenges the perception of reality, I guess you could say therefore that it challenges mankind.

Another technology that I love working with is Artificial Intelligence, the only thing I can imagine more exciting than either VR or AI, is the two working together.

AI is the science of making intelligent machines or programs based on algorithms derived from understanding the cognitive ability of the human brain but not limited to biology. Once taught, these machines can be scripted and controlled, but more exciting they can become autonomous.

We’re not quite at the stage where we characterize what kind of computer procedures we want to call intelligent, but they lean towards those that are maybe less mechanical, or less engineered, i.e. prompted by emotion.

Human IQ is the measure at which human intelligence develops based on; speed, short-term memory and the accuracy of long-term memory. AI is arguably the reverse; programs have plenty of memory and speed but their abilities correspond to inputs and commands.

To this end, currently most work involving AI involves studying the challenges the world puts to our intelligence in order to solve them at an improved return on speed or money, but if we were to combine a world created virtually along with the abilities of AI, then surely we could create a new theorized knowledge source; a new perspective… a new reality.

Information is at our fingertips, the likes of Google sorted that one for us, but new insight, new knowledge, that is far more interesting. So if we could create worlds that anticipated situations of the future and then input artificial intelligence into it, then in this parallel universe we could create a new perception, a new reasoning.

Technology is powerful in the hands of humans, if we enhance that artificially then the virtual world could be our new oyster.

Cyborg Head

Now, where did I leave my Dragon..?

 

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Wake up and smell the hex reference!

Augmented Reality currently taps into our audio and visual senses, but how long before it covers smell as well?

I’m a big F1 fan but can’t afford tickets to fly around the world and experience the sensational atmosphere. So imagine if I could bring the squeal of the tires and the smell of burning rubber, the sound and smell of rain as it hits the hot tarmac, into my living room…

Imagine you’re waiting in a stuffy airport lounge and you can be transported to the first day of spring, the smell of cut grass in the air, you pick a virtual flower and smell it’s scent…

Imagine you’re Skyping your best friend from New York and she’s cooking a bacon sarnie in the background and you can smell it too…

If we could decode the molecules of odour, similar to how we break down colour into wavelengths and sound into pitch and frequency then this could be achievable.

A perfumer creates a palette with thousands of molecules to create a scent, so if each molecule had a reference – just as we have RGB hex references for colour coding that form pictures on a screen – assuming the recipient had the equivalent hardware to release the combination of references creating the scent, then in theory we could send smells alongside pictures and images.

Let’s take it a step further, what if we could digitise taste? Imagine if you could script a cake and send it to a 3D printer…

Hershey’s and Barilla have already trialled printing using chocolate, cookie dough and sugar (you can read more here) so again, once we have the breakdown of molecules and a reference for each… you get where I’m going right?

I could also have the taste of burnt rubber on the tip of my tongue (tastes good with a cold beer I promise), create the taste of a Lindt chocolate bunny to go with spring and 3D print my bestie’s bacon sarnie.

Right, who’s got the HP?

rabbit 3D printer

Just imagine that rabbit is a strawberry cake…

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In the beginning

We simply had our imaginations.

Then Thomas T Goldsmith Jr and Estle Ray Mann came along with the first interactive game, the ‘Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device’, developed in 1947, renowned for their simulation skills and not their wordsmithing, you’ll be glad to know.

Soon after, we saw a burst of simple interactive programs such as; ‘Mouse in the Maze’, ‘Bertie the Brain’ and Alan Turing’s ‘Chess’ capable of computing two way problems but not complex algorithms. This was shortly followed by ‘Spacewar’ in 1962; a two-player game where you try and destroy each other’s starship… arguably the first true video game, it took around 200 hours to code and was done by some students at MIT.

Where am I going with this?

Well, if we fast forward through the Odyssey’s and the varying intergalactic games to the Atari release of ‘Adventure’ in 1980 where we saw text adventure visualised, albeit crudely, in a plethora of dragons, monsters and sword slaying, through to the help of RAM and better joysticks into the world of Sega Dreamcast and NES where imaginary friends like Sonic and the Super Mario Bros helped us through the 90’s and into today, you’ll see my ramblings are leading to a pertinent question…

In a world where we now have technology that scans brain activity to read our minds, technology that creates worlds that don’t exist and technology that maps us to our surrounding climate, how long before we live in our imaginations, in a virtually real world.

Or, what if I’m already living in it and the world we think we live in is actually virtually imagined.

Wait, what…?Living inside my head

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