Today, we discuss the creeping, unstoppable forces that are virtual and augmented reality.
Quick rundown — virtual reality and augmented reality are not the same. In fact, these facets couldn’t be more polarized.
Virtual reality is an immersive experience where the user is invited to enter a simulated world. It is attention-grabbing, and isolates reality from whatever is meant to be seen, emotionally felt, and delivered to the one using it. Imagine a private excursion to the moon or riding Disneyland’s newest roller coaster — before it’s ever built. Imagine storytelling on steroids.
Augmented reality takes the reality we know and continues to add simulated information to that reality which allows this level of immersion to be more palatable for daily consumption. Consider SnapChat’s new lenses feature that allows you to morph your face into silly, and sometimes borderline disturbing, caricatures. See? Everyday use.
Not all augmented reality is fun and games, though. Imagine placing a geotag for your friend to track you through augmented reality. Or taking a city tour that uses an app to overlay additional information on famous buildings and locations in real time on camera.
It may be easy to write off VR and AR as a trending fad or an easy gimmick or perhaps you can see these tools thriving only in the realm of video games. That could have been the case, if it weren’t for all the big money invested in it. Check out these facts from the MP&F PR blog:
• Palmer Luckey, creator of Oculus Rift (VR) raised $2.4 million on Kickstarter in 2012.
• Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion this spring.
• Last fall, Google led a $500-million investment round in Magic Leap (AR).
• Earlier this month, Google published a patent application for the use of holograms in head-mounted display.
Traditional media aren’t shying away from either. The New York Times created an exclusive website to introduce its readers to NYT VR – a step into virtual reality with the help of Google Cardboard. Cardboard that turns your smartphone into a personal virtual reality station — provided you download the right apps.
We’re learning a lot today.
This isn’t your ordinary class. We are now responsible for teaching and learning how to use these new tools ourselves. This is our next test as PR professionals and how we choose to solve it is up to us.
What will you create?