With the Oculus Rift now hitting shelves, and competing headsets either already here, or on the way, what is the future of virtual reality? Ever since seeing VR5 on Fox in the mid-1990s, and “The Lawnmower Man” with Jeff Fahey in 1992, I’ve longed for a story that matched the promise of virtual reality. And, according to AdAge, so are others out there.
You’ve probably seen the “Hardcore Henry” trailer recently, and I am fearful that this is the start of content specifically designed for virtual reality. In the same way that writing for video games differs from interactive television, which differs from sequential storytelling, there needs to be a compelling reason to see a story told via a special mechanism or appliance. I can’t tell you how often I was lured into 3-D movies with the red and blue glasses, only to be bored silly with the inane plots and exaggerated movements. Many of you will recall the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, too, and they all point to the faddish nature of these efforts.
There is a lot of money invested, and at stake, in the next iteration of tech-based storytelling, and the first to crack that code will likely become very wealthy. But with the recent history of these kind of efforts, I will not hold my breath, because the many will try, but few will succeed – at least, for a while.