VR is film, XR is theater

Movies are all about the image. In a film, an ogre had better look like an ogre, and a giant needs to be a lot bigger than everyone else.

But on the stage, none of that is true. If a play is written, directed and acted properly, everyone in the audience will accept that a person on stage is a giant, even if they are no bigger than anyone else on that stage.

This is a fundamental difference, and it is essential to the nature of these two media. And I have a feeling we are going to see something similar emerge between virtual reality and extended reality.

A story told in VR needs to possess visual fidelity. You can’t say somebody is a giant in VR and then show a normal sized person. But in XR, the visual vocabulary is more like that of live theater. Because people and characters in XR stories show up right here, in our own world, we can bend the rules of visual fidelity, and audiences will go with it.

In other words, VR is like film, and XR is like theater.

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