Virtually Perfect?

Will the adage "content is king" hold true in the virtual world? The short answer is, “yes.”

by Walt McGraw

Media mogul Sumner Redstone famously said, “content is king.” Will that hold true in the virtual world? The short answer is, “yes.”

With the release of an onslaught of virtual reality headsets around the corner, thousands of enthusiasts already exploring virtual worlds on prototype devices and millions of others poised to try it, what can we predict about the technology’s reception from typical consumers?

The New York Times recently announced it would be sending more than one million VR viewers to subscribers. VR, it seems, is poised to go mainstream. But is the technology truly transformative? As Jake Silverstein, editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine explained, “[i]n terms of bringing readers or viewers into a story,” Silverstein told NPR, “there is really nothing that compares to this emerging technology of virtual reality.”

My daughter would certainly agree. At Intentional Futures, prepping for a 3-hour Product Immersion Workshop (that stretched into eight hours due to the sheer enthusiasm of the client) gave us the privilege of testing a smorgasbord of VR devices. After flying through the mountains in AirDrift by Multiplayer.GG on Facebook’s Oculus DK2, she turned to me and said, “I never thought my dream of flying could come true. Now it has.” That feeling of being there – of “presence” – is not something possible through any other medium. It is undeniably powerful. But it’s not a given. Sumner’s Law still holds. Whether it’s placing you – as some of these early VR experiences do — in Syria, or the streets of Hong Kong, or soaring above the mountains, content will remain king.