VR, story-building, or drugs - choose your future entertainment
The future technological advancements, industry infrastructure and investments in innovations in the entertainment industry will be prioritized on big-data and consumer preferences. While no one can predict the exact future, there are trends such as exciting innovations with the VR technology, the viewer at the center of art forms and personalized experiences that can reflect what it may look like.
For many, the obvious next form of entertainment is augmented reality. While the previous year saw an increased competition in coming up with the ultimate hardware for VR, this year according to Jason Rubin, head of worldwide studios for Oculus, the same developments will see the same competition in the software department. The VR technology is expected to capture a bigger share of the consumer market. As per a forecast by BI Intelligence, the shipment of VR headsets will spike by 1047% year over year. Maintaining this momentum, Deloitte sees the VR industry surpassing the $1 billion mark in revenue. A significant number of consumers will invite developers and investors into the foray, making the VR ecosystem vibrant in both content production and hardware quality.
As more and more people get swept into the VR world, the society will see many changes. The need to physically be somewhere could become an inconvenient exercise. Activities such as shopping or going to concerts would be infused with the VR technology, enhancing experiences without the need to go out. Video recording too would become almost real with everyone able to sort of relive moments and memories. Already today, it becomes a norm to live stream daily life in the social media. This could prove overwhelming according to Jessica Brillhart who is the principal filmmaker for virtual reality at Google. Moreover, it would impact our relationship with the people as well as the environment. For the latter, offices can be expected to demand their employees to work from home via VR interface to avoid increased carbon footprint.
as an explorer
Entertainment today has the consumer in the front seat using big data analysis and intelligent algorithms. The movies of the future too will be designed on the same trends: wherein the viewer would be at the very center of events. The whole practice and meaning of watching movies will change. Technology will give more immersive experiences. For example, an IMAX experience with the spectator as the epicenter of a storyline. The future viewer will not be a passive audience but will be a lone observer exploring the story line and ‘live’ the movie. He or she will contribute by choosing options and making decisions for the characters. Such movies will have numerous plot lines and endings suited to the individual preferences. This would mean, that the movie too will be changing drastically making the viewer the director. Brian Moriarty, a specialist in interactive media at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, believes this meshing of the lines between the movie and reality could be the defining art form of the future. Does this development mean that it will be best to build an own story by oneself? Watching movies might become less social and more private experience creating the gap between people.
Interactive films are not far-fetched ideas. In fact, Possibilia, termed as the ‘the world’s first interactive narrative film’, is one example that works towards bringing the viewer at the center of storytelling. The film has different storylines and the viewer can explore all of them. Commissioned by Xbox live studios, the film uses interactive technology by Yoni Bloch’s company Interlude, the same company responsible for the interactive video of Bob Dylan’s song Like a Rolling Stone. The viewer gets to make the choice of the characters, watching them walk through a story improvises for them.
In a recent interview in WSJD Live 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings assumed the future where pharmacological products could be an alternate form of entertainment trigger. ‘In twenty or fifty years, taking a personalized blue pill, you just hallucinate in an entertaining way, and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable.’ The idea is not far fledged. Drugs are often used for their ability to give a ‘high’. Reportedly, the drugs can either heightened senses or act as stress reliefs. At most, drugs are looked down upon by the society due to their adverse effects and potential addiction. However, if the pharmacists and chemists of the future are indeed able to come up with Reed’s blue and white pill, they could replace the conventional means and definition of entertainment.
It is hard to predict the effects to society if entertainment could become so convenient. If the blue pill would entertain us, would it be able to maintain the level every time it is taken? Could this make entertainment less entertaining? Moreover, if the pills of the future can enhance experiences and conjure artificial emotions, wouldn’t it be difficult for the user to distinct them from their true emotions? In such scenarios, there would be a struggle towards a rehab in the form of simplistic human company. When it will get overwhelming, the future users would rush towards simplicity until they get tired of it and return to technology.
The rapidly changing landscape of the entertainment industry is well suited to the needs of today’s consumer. The new lifestyle in line with the new technological advancements ushers in demand for content that is well tailored to the needs of the customer. People themselves will dictate the future of entertainment.