We've covered before how 2016 is poised to be the year of virtual reality and the momentum keeps gaining pace. The latest reports are that movie studios, television producers and artists are now quickly adopting the technology, which immerses people in faraway realms using yet to be released goggles.
Content producers in Hollywood are drawn to virtual worlds because when users look left, right, up or behind they experience an alternate environment, even when they're sitting in a theater or are at home on a couch.
"What's better for jump scares than, like, turning your head and it's right in your face?" says Matt Lipson, Sr. Vice President of digital marketing at Focus Features, a Hollywood studio owned by heavyweight Universal.
Universal's Focus Features recently released a virtual-reality experience promoting the upcoming "Insidious: Chapter 3" horror movie.
In these early days the project means a truck around the country, inviting fans to wear virtual-reality goggles purchased by the studio. It's also combined the truck tour with mailing out thousands of movie-branded Google Cardboard kits, which fold around smartphones to turn them into rudimentary VR viewers. Fans just download the app from Google Play, or the App Store, and presto - 3d goggles.
Fellow film heavyweight Lionsgate used a similar strategy for its movie "Insurgent".
While presently VR is only used for promotion new content created for future films will also take advantage of VR goggles. We previously highlighted that even magazines are getting in on the action, with heavyweight Conde Nast producing both magazines and movie experiences using the new tech.
Reality TV speciailist Discovery Communications is also planning to launch VR content under the Discovery Virtual brand, with the first titles being released in August.
Part of the challenge right now is figuring out just what, exactly, makes for a compelling viewing experience. Discovery's Shark Week will likely feature the technology to increase the fear factor, which companies like Facebook are looking to move their two dimensional social network into a virtual world, where friends sit around a virtual living room watching the big game or chatting. Such group experiences may also become part of movies or video games in the near future.
With big studios, tech companies and consumer gadget makers all lined up virtual reality will become a reality before the year is out.