Subtlety as a sign of medium maturity

We are still in early days in consumer VR experiences. Not surprisingly, people are going for sensation: Dramatic shifts in point of view, giant creatures, swooping and gliding flight paths.

But no medium has ever been sustained by its own novelty. At some point we stop responding to the train speeding toward us on screen. This is more or less the point when we start learning a real shared language of that medium.

The is a language of cinema, a different language of the theater, and yet another language of storytelling via the written word. It takes time for each medium to find itself, and for artists to work out the most effective way to use that particular medium to reach an audience.

A key part of this process is that the audience also learns the language of any medium. For example, each of us has learned the unique “language” of appreciating a written story, or a play, or a movie, respectively.

Eventually the “language” of effective VR will mature and will become more subtle, just as earlier media have matured and increased in subtlety over time. At that point we will not be speaking about the novelty of the VR medium, but about the shared language of creation and experience for that medium.

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