The last week has been a progressive whirlwind for the virtual reality (VR) industry. Wal-Mart has acquired the rights to a VR company in order to stay on top of the fledgling industry—and other companies are following suit.
NBC just announced its plans to feature 50-hours of the 2018 winter Olympics on multiple VR platforms, and a VR gaming startup called Vreal has received $11.7-million dollars to get their streaming tech up and running.
In an interview with GeekWire, Todd Hooper (CEO of Vreal) explained the two major tech trends that influenced his product, saying, “The first is gaming as media, people watch Twitch and YouTube the way his generation watched broadcast networks. And the second is virtual reality as the future of gaming.”
All of this comes on the heels of an agreement made last month between Plex—a media app—and Google. Plex has designed an app that brings all of a user’s media into a completely immersive platform via Google’s Daydream VR devices.
This media can also include popular streaming services and the original programming that cord cutters have come to know and love. Plex has added plugins for everything from Netflix to Kodi, and now offers access to all of this on a virtual platform.
Most shows may not be designed for VR viewing—but the app has a clever enough premise that subscribers don’t seem to care. After activating the program and strapping on a compatible VR headset, viewers have the ability to design their own avatar—complete with a virtual living room.
The interactive nature of the app allows people to watch their favorite movies and shows from a number of different settings. Check out a scary movie at a VR drive-in theatre or invite your friends to sit on your virtual couch and enjoy hanging out using a voice chat feature.
This isn’t just a backdrop either. It’s a fully accessible 360-degree world where avatars can have popcorn fights or honk the horn during the drive-in performance.
Variety reports “Plex VR will be a Daydream exclusive for the time being, but company representatives said that they’re looking to eventually bring it to other VR platforms as well.”
Many consumers and business insiders predict that the cost of quality VR headsets will be expected to go down over the next few years—making them affordable for anyone interested in experiencing the future of entertainment.
Just a few decades ago we were using corded phones and hoping that an unexpected call wouldn’t kick us out of our AOL chatrooms. Televisions had rabbit ears, and aluminum foil was the only affordable way to improve service.
We’ve come a long way, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be slowing down any time soon. Cord cutting has revolutionized the way that we watch television, and VR could be the next step in a more immersive experience.
Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn’t writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.
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