Commercial VR storytelling outside the home, part 2

Yesterday I presented an argument that commercial VR storytelling must start outside the home, because it’s the only real way for that market to grow. Today I’m going to discuss the nature of the product that will evolve for that platform.

First of all, when you have lots of people in a physically shared space, putting them into solitary experiences is a non-starter. People who go out for the evening expect the thrill of a crowd.

Yet most existing VR storytelling content is essentially “a movie for an audience of one”. All of the aesthetic decisions have been made with the idea of focusing on a single viewer in one location. Which means that most of that existing content won’t work for a crowd.

So what is a good way to present VR narratives for multiple people? First and foremost, audience members need to be aware of each other.

Think about it — every single experience that people have when they go out for the evening involves awareness of other people in the experience. This is true for theater, concerts, bars, restaurants, museums, galleries (the list goes on).

This reiterates the theme that people who go out for the evening are seeking the primordial tribal campfire. Their instinct is not to wander out into the wilderness, but rather to merge with the tribe.

In VR, what form might this mutual awareness take? I’ll talk about that next time.

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