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How To Make Consumers Understand VR/AR

Why Immersive is the future

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

Albert Einstein

In today’s world of hyper-connectivity we increasingly stare at the rectangles in our hands, on our desks, and mounted on our walls, allowing them to take us from A to B within their confined environments. But immersion ends when we stop looking at our rectangles. If today’s computing platforms get you from A to B faster than ever before, tomorrow’s will power the first implementation of imagination. The technology of tomorrow is Immersive and therefore the medium should be called Immersive.

Through building a company in the space, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking and speaking to consumers about what they think of these new technologies. Many have a hard time wrapping their head around the differences between VR/AR/MR/XR; in fact, many told us the terms “Virtual Reality” and “Augmented Reality” sounded “too technical” or “scary.” We wanted a term that felt approachable and that encompassed the entire new generation of content. Somewhere on a plane between New York and San Francisco, we landed on “Immersive”.

Email to one of our investors in March when we changed our deck from VR/AR to Immersive

And while others clearly are thinking about the perfect term for this, the simplicity of Immersive is undeniable.

Clay Bavor’s post on Virtual and Augmented Realities

The End of the Rectangle

Immersive is the first form of imagination in the real world. Immersive is the end of the rectangle; it starts with content no longer being contained within four lines and finishes with infinite possibilities. Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities all move beyond the rectangle and place content around us, in front of us, beside us, and above us. The only thing that separates these technologies is the opacity between the virtual world and the physical world. In VR, your real world fades away and another world engulfs you. With MR and AR, you can still see your real world environment, but digital objects are seamlessly integrated.

To further illustrate, think of technology of the past as looking at a glass window: you can look at the window but are stopped by your hand on the glass, once again confined by a rectangle.

With the new generation of Immersive content, you can stick your head out the window, touch things outside the glass, move into new worlds, and control your surroundings.

Full video from VoxelKei’s

Where every medium before has limitations, Immersive does not.

How To Think of Immersive

While today the windows are varying in shape and size, they are still gateways to new worlds.

Colin Northway’s Tweet

For now, we can’t think of building a world based on the window in which it is presented. VR is not a stepping stone to AR. Each has their own limitations on both the hardware and software side, but both manifest digital assets into some world. Thus, the learnings from each should be applied to one another, allowing a future where people build for Immersive platforms, not VR vs. AR.

In fact, we’re just scraping the surface of what interesting, great immersive content is. As Palmer Luckey once said, “each time you put on a headset, know it’s the worst content you will ever try”, illuminating that creators are getting more inventive with every iteration and consumers are becoming more educated with what they want to see/feel/experience.

The skillsets and same underlying technologies of computer vision, spatial awareness, 3D modeling, and much more will eventually allow the convergence of the windows into one shape and size (whether a headset, glasses, contact lenses, or an embedded device in our body). However, for now we see this convergence in the overlap of technologies like 3D assets, 360, and volumetric capture of real assets (used in VR today, used in AR tomorrow).

Tomorrow, as hardware and software limitations go by the wayside, imagination stops living in our minds and truly goes “everywhere”.

By agreeing to call these mediums Immersive, we relinquish the discussions around terminology and take the first leap into our child-like imaginations. No longer confined by a rectangle, we stop moving from A to B and start dreaming without borders.

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