I trust 100% in the possibilities of virtual reality and I believe that it has the capacity to become an immersive technology that most of us will have in our homes. It is a different technology: with it, you manage to enter a virtual world in which you can “isolate” yourself from the rest. It is an experience similar to going back to the cinema. There are no distractions or multiscreen.
I remember the first time I was able to experience first-hand the true possibilities of virtual reality. Back then, we were producing 360 video content to project onto domes. I was able to access the Oculus DK1 development kit and, after setting it up, see some first-person images. It was an amazing, incredible experience. That’s when I knew we had to change everything we were doing to fit the glasses.
Virtual reality can be applied to the world of science, technology, education, and of course, entertainment. In the field of music, you can direct an orchestra, be a DJ or even learn to play an instrument; in video games, AAA games are already being developed by the biggest developers in the industry. Besides, there are experiences like Location-Based VR, places where you can have a multi-user experience and play with your friends. Even in the broadcast world, there are more and more experiences such as VR rooms or Horizon Worlds that host broadcasts of all kinds of events structured in rooms: concerts, NBA games, exhibitions… and all in real-time and in high quality.
Why isn’t Virtual Reality standardized yet?
Virtual reality has many possibilities, but the truth is that glasses have not yet reached all homes, just as other technologies such as tablets, laptops, video game consoles, or smart speakers have. There are multiple reasons that clarify or provide an explanation for this.
For example, video game consumers are used to quality levels found on platforms like PlayStation. Until now, virtual reality devices have not supported the same quality that could be seen with GTA or FIFA 2023. Now, little by little, first-rate alternatives are emerging, which could make the player decide to buy some glasses to play that pitch that has been so eagerly anticipated.
That brings us to the second question. Until now, the price of the devices has been high, and currently, the cheapest models are at €400. It is a device that requires an effort to purchase and the reality is that, due to the evolution of technology, every two years they bring out a new alternative with more resolution.
The Peculiarities of Content for Virtual Reality
So how do you make virtual reality a part of every home? Creating unique experiences that are worth it. Sometimes there are products that are being used with these glasses that are not intended for them. Virtual reality requires a different way of telling stories. The narrative changes and it takes time and resources to adapt it correctly.
In fact, one of the problems that some people talk about is the dizziness that the use of these devices can cause. It is true that there may be people who are more or less sensitive to this experience, but the truth is that these feelings are usually caused by the content. When on a screen you see someone jump over a ravine with a parachute, you don’t get dizzy. However, if you are that person and you attend that scene with a virtual reality headset sitting on the couch, it may happen.
Therefore, it is essential to think about the user experience. For example, for our project with Álex Márquez, we synchronized the playback of the device with the telemetry of the motorcycle from which you were viewing the content. In this way, you, as a spectator, would lie down as the video marked and you would not get dizzy.
You have to be very careful when preparing the content, not only creatively, but also from a technological perspective. It is essential to know how to move the camera and shoot the images at a minimum of 60 fps so that the refresh rate is good…
Experiences… and experiences
We have created many virtual reality experiences for brands, agencies, and Institutions in which we have been able to take advantage of our knowledge of immersive storytelling and technique so that the viewer who puts on glasses can truly discover the possibilities of these devices.
We are also working on another experience with the CSIC on Ramón y Cajal, with which, thanks to the use of the Unreal engine and its Meta Human technology, facial and movement capture and the recreation of spaces with photogrammetry, we will be able to be together with the Nobel Prize winner. and see how he taught in his chair or how neurons work from within the brain.
On many occasions, I have accompanied people who have put on glasses to discover virtual reality content for the first time. They are people from all walks of life, cultures, religions, and countries. The reactions have been of all kinds: people crying, laughing, scared … Even so, everyone agrees that virtual reality takes them to another world. More and more people are betting on having these glasses in their homes and they are hallucinating about everything that can be done.
It is difficult to set a date for the standardization of glasses, but the consolidation of the metaverse is going to have a lot to do with it. That the industry offers an immersive internet in which you are inside, can participate, and have an interconnection between multiple platforms, so that with your same virtual identity you can jump between different spaces of the metaverse, it will be very important.
Agreements between large technology companies are needed to push all this. The road will be long. It may be three, five, or eight years … But the wait will be worth it.