Brandwidth’s head of innovation Dean Johnson opened yesterday’s Develop:VR (no relation) conference with a keynote speech declaring that virtual reality needs to move away from more ‘throwaway’ experiences and move towards projects and content that feels more essential.
"The problem is VR is still expendable," he said in his talk, entitled Virtual Tipping Point. "At the moment, if we took away your smartphone it would be like having your arm or your head chopped off. You wouldn’t cope, and that’s just part of our society right now. If we took VR away now, we would all be disappointed to say the least, but outside this room, outside all of these conferences and conversations, most people haven’t tried it – let alone know what it is. So if it went away, they wouldn’t give a shit."
"We need to make sure if VR is taken away from that wider audience, they would want say ‘hey, no, bring it back’. At the moment that’s not the case." Said Johnson, transcribed by GamesIndustry.Biz
Johnson suggested that VR developers look beyond games and entertainment and towards projects that could benefit real-world sectors such as healthcare or education.
Johnson stood against the idea that virtual reality was the only future for the entertainment industry however, saying that "Candy Crush doesn’t need to be in VR" and that only projects designed with VR in mind are well suited for the technology – so other mediums like cinema or 2D gaming likely won’t be cannibalised by the rise in popularity of virtual reality.