A lot of people tend to view Oculus Rift as a gaming device first and foremost, but the virtual reality headset’s capabilities go way beyond that. That’s why Facebook decided to shell out an astonishing US$2 billion for its parent company – because Rift’s talent for putting the wearer “inside” any piece of visual media has endless possibilities in fields like advertising, marketing and “experiential” promotions.
One non-gaming side of Oculus you may have already experienced is its collection of short films and videos. Want to be “in the crowd” as Coldplay perform mere metres away (hey, it takes all sorts…)? Want to gawp as Cirque du Soleil’s acrobats soar through the air above you? To see the natural beauty of Iceland as you skim over it from a helicopter? Oculus Rift can provide that, and from personal experience I can say it’s impressive.
Well, you can expect a lot more where that came from, because Oculus has inked a deal with leading VR filmmaker Felix & Paul Studios to provide more “experiences” for the system. Felix & Paul has already worked with Oculus, creating several pieces of content for the Samsung Gear VR, and has recently made VR tie-ins for Jurassic World and Wild.
What precise form these new VR experiences will take remains to be seen, but we’d expect a varied mix of stuff including live performances, drama and documentaries. These films tend to be fairly short, of course, because wearing a VR headset for lengthy periods does not sit well with many people.
The consumer edition of the Oculus Rift is due to go on sale in the first quarter of 2016.