- I know people like to talk about VR and AR as if they are competitive, but they will really serve two different going forward:
- VR will also be something that I go to do. It might be for training, education or just fun, but I will specifically go into VR experiences.
- For the foreseeable future, it will involve things I need to put on, the HMD; joysticks or haptic gloves; an interactive suit.
- I may use VR every day, but I don't believe we'll be wearing VR gear for long periods of time when we do use them.
- AR, on the other hand, is something I believe we'll use like we use of cell phones today. Remember, I wore my Google Glass almost every day for about 2.5 years, and I found the utility was getting better before they put the product on hold.
- It will be something I believe we'll wear all day long.
- We'll use it for a wide variety of everyday tasks, as we use our phones today. We'll check email, get directions, take photos, eventually do facial recognition, everything and more that we do today.
- There will be a new language for how we interface with AR that will be unique to AR. While gestures are a starting point, we will need an entirely new UX as AR becomes more a part of our lives. We need to control what information comes to us and how, so we're not bombarded as we go throughout our days.
- Since we will use AR like we use cell phones today, we will need to build some new social etiquettes going forward. Just as we did when cell phones and then cell phone cameras
- There may be a point in the future where the hardware comes together, but right now we're a number of years away from that happening.
For VR content, we are currently only scratching the surface for what we can do and what content will look like in the near future. One example I use quite frequently is interactive theatre and shows like Sleep No More or other experiments that have been done in traditional theater. You can click here to see an older list of interactive theater pieces from 2012 to get some ideas.
The challenge is how to create enough content for VR experiences to be compelling and engaging, but not overwhelming for either the content creators or the audience. Today, when a script is written, characters come in and out of the story, but when the direction is character exits stage left, they cease to exist until the script calls for that character to reenter. So Lady Macbeth does her "Out out damn spots" speech and then she leaves. We don't know where she goes or what happens to her unless another character tells us or she returns. She ceases to exist.
But in a VR experience, I could decide to go follow Lady Macbeth out the door and she where she goes and what she does. For me, she may continue to exist while all of the other characters cease to exist. That would allow me to see the same show multiple times, from multiple character POV's.
The challenge for both creator and audience is where does it become overwhelming. How many character POV's do I need to create before it's too many? What's my threshold for creating full stories for a character, because one audience member is interested or 100? Just think about the effort needed to create a full script when characters come and go. Now think about the effort needed when in effect, characters never leave the audience.
And for the audience, what does a show look like? Will they feel that without seeing all the characters available, they didn't get a complete show? At what point are the characters so minor, that their stories just don't create a compelling arc? I can barely keep up with the shows I currently watch, can you imagine what happens when I can watch dozens of characters go through their story arcs? Will I be frustrated as I was when I watch the second season of Lost and thought, "Hey, this is just the same story to fill time."
While I don't have answers, and I'm not sure anyone does right now, I am looking forward to starting to see the story experimentation in VR. I have no doubt there will be some awful content in the future, but that's been the case of all mediums that have come before it. We must give VR the chance to explore and experiment and not expect everything to be a success as we traditionally label it today.
Those are my thoughts tonight, please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!