Forget 3D. Are you ready for virtual reality movies?
Facebook is having exploratory talks with Hollywood executives about the possibility of creating immersive content – including full-length movies – for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, according to a new report from the tech blog The Information (sorry, subscription required).
The talks are said to be very preliminary – and no one’s confirmed them, officially – but it makes sense that Facebook would want to explore various sources of virtual reality content, after plunking down more than $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, the startup that developed the pioneering Rift headset.
Though it’s mostly been viewed as a gaming technology, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he views virtual reality as the next major wave of computing and communications, to be used for all sorts of entertainment, education and other applications – even doctor visits.
Fans of the Oculus device say its developers have gone a long way toward overcoming one of the biggest challenges of virtual reality – by creating a system that doesn’t make wearers feel disoriented and sick to their stomachs. While the Rift still isn’t available as a consumer device, developer kits are widely available and being used to create all kinds of apps.
But if the technology is so realistic that it can be enjoyed for long periods, even the length of a feature film, there may still be a downside. A health and safety advisory distributed with the developer kit warns that extended use carries a slight risk of symptoms such as “involuntary movements”, “disorientation”, and “increased salivation”. (H/T to PCGamer for bringing that warning to our attention.)
(An attendee at the San Francisco Game Developers Conference tries the Oculus virtual reality headset; AP Photo by Jeff Chiu)