Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 53 of Rerun, your weekly digest of digital storytelling, interactive media and the future of TV curated by Axonista.
This week’s Top Pick is news that Playstation VR finally has a release date and price- later than most in October, but also cheaper at $399!
We also continue to see the evolution of VR with news of VR editors now available to games developers and Sky’s launch of their VR Studio. However, Oculus advise creators to take time to experiment with short form VR and we feature some fun examples of this. And we reflect on Netflix's role in bringing TV and film to international audiences and feature a demo of an interactive projector.
Let's get straight to it!
Playstation VR arrives in October for $399
This week Sony unveiled the consumer version of Playstation VR, due to ship in October and at $399 it's undercutting both the Oculus and the Vive. 30 VR experiences are planned for launch with 230 more already in the works. Couple that with a day 1 install base of close to 40 million Playstation 4 consoles and there's a high chance that Sony will finish 2016 as the VR market leader. While they're launching later than the competition, they're in a much stronger position overall in terms of content and distribution channels.
Future of TV
Netflix and the creation of global monoculture
As Netflix gears up to launch in 130 new markets, making it a truly global broadcaster, Spencer Lazar wonders about the impact of this influx of US driven content on local markets.
While internet connects us and unites us, it also has the potential to facilitate a kind of imperialism and monoculture.
At Rerun, we're not that convinced about Netflix creating a global monoculture. Collectively we've discovered a host of TV drama, anime and horror movies from other countries through Netflix that otherwise would not have crossed our paths.
A recent Netflix originals favourite, 'Narcos', had Spanish subtitles all the way through it ... and we watched all of it.
Sony's Future Lab shows off an interactive projector
Sony Future Labs showed off their interactive projector at SXSW, with the display turning an Alice in Wonderland book placed on a coffee table into animations that could be point-and-dragged from the book across the table and onto other objects. Bedtime storytelling could get a lot more exciting!
Sky sets up in-house studio for VR content
Sky has been steadily releasing 360 degree video content covering topics like the migrant crisis at Calais and the red carpet at the latest Star Wars premiere. Now it's stepping up its game big time by announcing a dedicated VR division and becoming one of the first big-name broadcasters to do so. The outcome of this will see VR getting some much-needed content that has the high production values that we're used to on TV. Sky will also be releasing their own VR app as part of this process.
The broadcaster has committed to producing more than 20 videos across sports, movies, news and entertainment genres in 2016, starting with two F1 VR experiences, made in partnership with Formula One Management and the Williams F1 team.
Unity preview their VR editor
Creating VR content in VR has become an option for developers this month. Epic Games have announced their Unreal 4 Editor can now be used in VR, and demoed it at GDC this week. Not to be outdone, Unity unveiled their own VR editor at this weeks Vision VR/AR Summit.
Oculus Story Studio founder says VR storytellers are reaching too far
Oculus Story Studio have always been incredibly open with sharing their learning and knowledge around storytelling in VR. The latest example of that is some advice from Story Studio founder and technical director (and 10-year Pixar veteran) Max Planck.
"We’re kind of at where film was back at the time of the nickelodeon," Planck said, "where people were willing to pay a nickel just to see something cool. And I think we should embrace that."
He says there are lots of new and interesting challenges that need to be solved in areas like technology, workflow, collaboration and the language of the medium. VR is still years away from being in any way mainstream, and studios should use that time to help figure out the language of storytelling in it and how best to collaborate to build VR experiences. Walk before you try to run.
A VR acid trip is all the fun without the pesky comedown
This VR experience offers a nostalgic (acid) trip down memory lane to the countercultural movement the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Possibly the first VR acid trip, Origins is pitched as a promotional tie-in for the theatrical release of a documentary on the Brotherhood. We think this is a clever use of VR- not too much to freak out the viewer, but enough to draw attention to the documentary movie.
The Paranormal Activity VR experience sounds terrifying
Scary scary scary.
“The platform of VR enables the player to experience the world in a much more intense and immersive way than they ever imagined possible,” Barder says. “People want to be scared, and horror in VR is the premium experience. It shakes them to their very core in a way no other platform can achieve.”
Naftal says the gameplay experience for Paranormal Activity VR involves living through a brand new found-footage horror experience.
- Amazon turns foodie in bid to make Twitch the new TV
- Netflix's Chelsea Handler talk show debuts May 11th
- BuzzFeed vet Jon Steinberg on why his new video venture Cheddar won't rely on ads
- Netflix pulls its Android Beta Program, says it was not meant for consumers to join
- Instagram will be algorithmically sorting your feed, for your own benefit but also for brands
A PlayStation VR demo made me cry from laughing
The Verge's Chris Plante plays with Sony's social VR demo and finds to his delight a charming, unpolished and strange experience that's lots of fun and bears more resemblance to shareware games from the '90s than other social VR experiences. A great read!
Yes, you and your friends are cartoons, but you're composed with the artistic depth of the early South Park episodes. You express yourself with giant foam hands. You run by pointing in the direction you’d like to move, turning every step into a Fosse-like dance. To turn, you blink left or right 10-degrees of rotation at a time. This sounds terrible, I know. It is not. It is perfect. If Sony changes this to something polished, my heart will dissolve into a pile of dust.