Will VR’s “Sense of Presence” Be Enough?

Unreal‘s 4-part infomercial on VR…, if you can call ~5min videos of nerds gushing about how golly-gosh amazing VR goggles are at tricking you into a viscerel experience a documentary. “OMG. A robot jumped out at me!!!” lolol. Don’t be fooled by the first video’s thumbnail, there is ONE woman interviewed in the full series and she’s just the one chick at the gaming conference, I guess.

Mostly filmed at GDC 2015 and SIGGRAPH, Sense of Presence features commentary from the leadership of YouTube, Oculus, NVIDIA, Weta Digital, Oculus Story Studio, Three One Zero, Magnopus and MatterVR, to namedrop a few…. But I’m not sure it ever amounts to much more than a sausage fest about vicariously murdering soldiers and lots (and lots) of explosions. There’s a drinking game based around the word “immersive”, and essentially that’s the whole point of VR: an enhanced “sense of presence”…. the only point apparently.

By the fourth video someone is literally saying that we could put students in a VR helmet and that would be all the history lesson they’d ever need. Oh, also they are curing cancer…. Color me skeptical. After this Christmas shopping season we’ll know if VR is the next remote-camera drone or if it’s just a fugly 3D TV that sits on your face. One opportunity mentioned but left unexplored is music videos where a 360-video experience might warrant repeated viewings (but probably not if it’s just inane EDM lyrics audibly whooshing around in space, imho).

Sense of Presence: What Is Virtual Reality?

Sense of Presence: Building Virtual Reality

Sense of Presence: Storytelling in Virtual Reality

Sense of Presence: The Future of Virtual Reality