The industry leader in the space is VR Coaster. The firm partners with existing theme park establishments like Six Flags to add VR to their rides. Using Samsung Gear VR mobile-based headsets, riders can enjoy their favorite theme park rides on an entirely new level. Meanwhile, former Dreamworks executives have planted their flag in China. With a similar model to VR Coaster, Spaces is backed by $30 million in capital. The firm plans to both upgrade existing theme park rides and roller coasters in China with VR capabilities, and build new VR centers.
It is an ingenious move by both companies. By leveraging a physical ride structure, VR-enhanced coasters can provide a genuine sense of speed, complete with G-force and rushing wind. That’s one aspect of the theme park ride experience that VR cannot provide on its own. At least not yet.
Virtual Reality and the Adult Industry
It is a bit of a public secret that the adult industry is responsible for the success of a great many entertainment technologies. Porn is credited with the rise of VHS tapes, DVDs, and even high-definition TV.
Today, it seems that the adult industry will also speed adoption of virtual reality. Adult entertainment has thrown its weight behind VR, with the VR pornography market forecast to exceed $1 billion by 2025.
Adult industry giants are already releasing 360 degree videos, and sex toy manufacturers have gotten to work on remote-operated devices. These allow couples separated by geography to don head-mounted displays and have some technology-aided fun.
Of course, one of the most interesting things to happen in the adult industry with regards with these technologies has already been on the market for some time. The Glance app, available for the Google Glass augmented reality headset, allows two headsets to stream their views to each other. In other words, partners can literally see through each other’s eyes engaged in a variety of activities. The marketing for the app is subtle but effective, and definitely leads to a fun moment of realization once it sinks in.
Augmented Reality TV
TV is another industry that is historically quick to leverage new technologies. From HD to 3D, manufacturers continually strive give consumers another reason to keep sets flowing off the shelves.
Augmented reality is the natural next step for the industry. SeeSpace, a startup firm in operation for several years, is home to the InAir AR technology for TV which is a new type of television experience called ‘Augmented Television’ (Augmented TV). Utilizing a set-top box and the existing 3D capabilities of many televisions, InAir surfaces related web content for sports games, TV shows, and other programming. Content appears to float in front of and to the side of the set, available for easy access but not obstructing the view.
In the virtual reality space, the potential is huge, but the content is still upcoming. Aside from short films like the Google Spotlight Stories, short-form TV-style entertainment has yet to take hold. The possibilities are fascinating to think about, though. Imagine the new possibilities in storytelling to be gained by unchaining the viewer’s perspective, and allowing them to explore every nook and cranny. Viewers could see the knife behind a character’s back, or a side character could offer a reaction that only appears if the viewer looks directly at them.