If new mediums are the driving force of new messages, that leaves us with an inevitable desire to ponder; what will these new messages be, and how will new mediums for example, virtual reality headsets, enable their conveyance to the world?
Interestingly, it’s worth considering that these machines aren’t actually conceptually, or even practically, all that new. In fact, immersive ‘goggles’ are nearly a century old, yet new technological innovations and the R&D power that companies like Samsung, Facebook, Sony, and Microsoft all posses have enabled generational advances that can finally make the medium a viable one, commercially speaking and in the eyes of the consumer.
More importantly, even more so in this day and age, is the internet embracing this technology. Having been Kickstarter’d by consumers, which almost warrants its own post, and the software being open source by nature enables anyone with the hardware to theoretically develop whatever they want for it. Despite Oculus’ buyout by Facebook, the momentum generated by the online community has ensured the relevance of the tech for some time, regardless of the company’s controversial move. This cultural stranglehold on entertainment is consolidated by announcements from many other large tech companies regarding their own iterations.
The ‘message’ of this medium can be looked at from its past time in the spotlight or its current status. Decades ago, the experience promised by innovators was of total immersion and boundless possibilities. This perception fizzled away as consumers engagement with these ambitious early devises was sullied by disappointing execution. Cost coupled with poor hardware and software, very limited adoption rate, and goofy appearance turned the solid idea into squandered reality, and like many promising aspirations in the world of entertainment, faded largely from public eye.
The re-invigoration of the medium is much more capable than the early proof-of-concepts, and while still a sizable monetary investment for developers, the retail versions will ultimately be more affordable. Additionally, the content already available shows the culminated effect of the new-age tech resulting in an experience that can truly immerse an audience into a whole new world they themselves can create with freely available tools.
The message is still of endless possibilities, but this time around it mightn’t be a far cry from reality.