VR, AR, MR Ready for Mainstream Adoption

Turner Sports' March Madness Live VR app

A still image from SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime by Eliza McNitt, an official selection of the New Frontier VR Experiences program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Between research and projections and recent projects and applications, it appears that 2018 is going to be the year that augmented, virtual, mixed and extended reality — all the realities — break through to wider audiences and increased adoption.

The CNN VR app for Oculus Rift allows users to program their own personalized newscast, selecting from a series of constantly updating VR video.

While in a recent study, the International Data Corp. anticipated that total spending on AR/VR/MR products and services is expected to grow from $11.4 billion in 2017 to nearly $215 billion 2021, most consumers are just now seeing and experiencing these products and services.

In January, for example, the three-part VR experience “Spheres,” directed by Eliza McNitt, was sold at the Sundance Film Festival to distributors in a record seven-figure deal, and by February, NBC Olympics was broadcasting more than 50 hours of VR coverage of the Olympic Winter Games using Intel TrueVR.

In early March, a year after launching its VR journalism division, CNN released its Oculus Rift virtual reality experience, CNNVR, which allows audiences to act as the “producer” of their own show, navigating through VR videos from CNN journalists, while throughout the month, Turner Sports presented 21 games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in VR through its March Madness Live VR app.

Turner Sports’ March Madness Live VR app

“2018 is poised to be a key moment in the industry’s history as immersive entertainment gets into the hands of more people — for them to play with and experience — ultimately leading to a growing audience’s desire for more and more,” explained Lara Hoefs, executive producer, Virtual Reality and Immersive Experiences for SunnyBoy Entertainment, who will be speaking in the Wednesday Ad Innovations session “Immersive Content Gets Real.”

“With the release this year of [standalone, wireless VR headset] Oculus Go and the [VR-themed, Steven Spielberg-directed] film ʻReady Player One,’ a door opens for a wider audience moving towards adoption and experiencing VR as a more regular form of entertainment.”

Hoefs stresses the importance of “Ready Player One” and how its depiction of virtual reality in the near future will positively impact the industry and consumer adoption.

Attendees interested in learning more about “RPO” can attend a session Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. on the Main Stage, that explores the production and post production of Spielberg’s adaptation of the bestselling Ernest Cline book, and how both the author and director imagine a future where lives and virtual reality converge.