Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – Game Changer or Gimmick?

By Tracey Taylor | 16 December 2015

The Pulse

I know that this question may sound a bit odd coming from the manager of a company that creates content that pushes the boundaries of current technologies. At The Pulse VR, we are excited by our projects that explore alternate realities; whether AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), 360 or anywhere in between.

But while we work at the centre of this new world of content, I have to ask the question that has been asked to me by clients and creatives: does all of this new technology particularly AR / VR, actually add to the user experience?

I was around when the Australian Government was toying with the idea of implementing interactive TV (instead of using the bandwidth for HD which they ultimately decided to do). For a year or so I researched interactive television shows (even travelled around the world meeting with other like minded interactive TV evangelists) and developed several great interactive TV program ideas. Through this process I had to constantly ask myself why anybody would bother interacting with the TV. It’s the whole 35 degrees forward, 35 degrees back concept. When I watch TV, I definitely want to be leaning back (preferably with my feet up and a glass of wine in hand). There’s not much that will get people to sit forward and interactive with their TV shows unless it entails gambling, voting or sport.

And so my initial reaction to AR (augmented reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) was pretty much the same. Until I realized that for years The Pulse has been producing content that is so much more than just a passive experience. Wrap around screens, moving monitors, multiple screen configurations, projection mapping… all of these experiences make a viewer sit forward. No feet up with the experiences we create. So the fact is that augmented reality, virtual reality, 360 films are just other ways of making content that compels you to lean forward for the ride.

The PulseAnd having just delivered a couple of films made for the Samsung SG Gear VR headset, every time I put on a headset, I still gape, squeal, gasp or shout in awe when I look around and discover the environment, the characters, the story around me. The possibilities are mind blowing and I love the fact that technology is allowing us to tell stories that couldn’t have been told like this just five years ago.

Forget the glass of wine, beam me up Scotty.

Tracey Taylor is the Executive Producer of The Pulse, an international Creative Content Studio based in Sydney and Hong Kong using the latest technology, innovative design, and strategic thinking to deliver engaging and immersive digital experiences.