'LIFE: The VR Experience'
In his wonderful book ‘LIFE: The Movie’, the author Neal Gabler explores the intricate relationships between our reality and the world of entertainment.
It tells the story of how our bottomless appetite for novelty, gossip, and melodrama has turned everything—news, politics, science, religion, sports, high culture—into one vast public entertainment.
Neal Gabler calls them “lifies,” those blockbusters written in the medium of life that dominate the media and the national conversation for weeks, months, even years: Stormy Daniels and Trump, Sophia the AI robot, mass school shootings and gun control, aliens and the NASA secret space programs, the debate on vaccines and the list goes on and on.
Real Life as Entertainment is hardly a new phenomenon, but ENTERTAINMENT, and now the new information technologies, have so accelerated it that it is now the reigning popular art form. Life imitates entertainment and entertainment imitates life.
I personally find it fascinating how this came to pass, and just what it means for our culture and our personal lives, and what it means for the future of entertainment and media.
The rise of VR technologies mark a whole new level of experience of how we, as the human species experience media & entertainment, how we interact with each other, and more so, how do we define and perceive what we call 'REALITY'.
I recall a very interesting conversation with one of my clients, a CEO of an international edu-tainment online gaming platform for children, as we were exploring new ways to create and integrate new content, and improve the overall user experience. VR was one of the central topics we discussed.
While having a friendly talk, my client seemed a bit worried and shared his concern about his younger son, a brilliant boy 8 years of age.
He shared with me with great concern how after his son got a VR set for Christmas, he became so obsessed with the VR gaming experience that not only it became a daily struggle to get the boy to join the dinner table, but he noticed how his son became a bit disconnected from the real life experience due to his immersion in digital VR.
Hence, he was a bit on the fence on the whole VR integration into his company. Yet, fully aware of how VR is becoming such a powerful global media force, he wanted to cautiously evaluate the most effective and harmless ways to integrate it into his business.
Being not only business man, but also a concerned and conscious father who experienced at first hand the direct impact of VR on his child, his concerns are a real life example of how entertainment and life are so intimately intertwined.
So the main question became: how do we utilize VR and integrate it into media & entertainment without damaging our children?
My personal approach to this subject matter, and what I advise my clients would be to encourage them to put the emphasis on REAL LIFE interactions of the end user as part of the whole VR experience.
What I mean by that, is whatever story, content, product, game or experience we immerse children in, should be translated into and lead to real life experiences and real life interactions.
If we encourage children to take what they have experienced and learned while immersed in VR, and translate it into physical interactions with others, then our children are less likely to become “VR addicts”.
That way, children will know that the digital medium is a gateway to real life experiences, not a replacement. They can then draw form it all the inspiration, excitement, visions and stimulation and use it as a DIGITAL SIMULATOR platform to enhance and empower their real life experiences.
If we succeed in doing that, we are sure to reap the benefits from all the wonderful possibilities that the VR experience can offer us and our end users - especially CHILDREN.
Because children, ARE our future. It is up to us how we shape it.