We believe that the future of content will include Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 360 video. And while this media shift is being enabled through technology, it will truly be driven by creators.
High quality, compelling content is at the core of what makes storytelling in this medium so exciting.
But one of the challenges is that this medium is new. And like any new medium, it’s difficult to find people who have the right skills and equipment.
So, we came up with the idea for a cooperative that would connect the VR community in Canada both virtually through an online database, and physically through shared office spaces (starting in Toronto) that provide access to VR equipment and workshops.
Our idea is based around three basic premises…
Being around other creators is the best way to get involved in VR
As a VR Co-op member, you won’t be delving into VR alone. You’ll have other people to provide motivation and mentoring. We’ll have bi-weekly learning sessions led by members that will focus on different aspects of content production.
Whether your background is in code, film, art, writing, sound design or game design, everyone has some expertise to offer and there’s tremendous potential for collaboration.
The VR Co-Op is all about leveraging the experience, knowledge, and creativity of our community. We’re also reaching out to the professional VR community to find mentors and instructors who can help provide guidance to those starting out in VR.
We’ll also help test our members’ apps, provide suggestions, and (respectfully) push each other to create better content.
A co-operative is the most affordable way to get involved in VR
As with many new technologies, the Oculus Rift and other headsets are expensive. PC workstations that have the processing power to develop 3D and VR experiences are even more expensive.
Most of us can’t justify spending $2,000 to $3,000 on development equipment, especially when starting out with no contracts in sight.
VR Co-Op is also an extremely cost-effective way of learning VR development. Alternatives such as college and university programs are expensive, and many can’t keep up with the rapid rate of change in the VR space.
It’s better to learn with other people and learn from their mistakes and successes. Plus, you get plenty of hands-on experience with top-of-the-line development equipment and resources.
NOW is the right time to get involved in VR
The first commercial Oculus Rift headset started shipping just at the end of March 2016. Other devices like the Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, which provides a headset for phone-powered VR experiences are providing a low buy-in option for VR consumers. McDonalds is bringing VR to the masses with a Happy Meal box that turns into a Google Cardboard headset.
Analysts anticipate the value of the Augmented and Virtual Reality market to exceed $150 billion by 2020.
Traditional media outlets like The New York Times are producing VR content as part of their journalism. Still, VR content is in its infancy, and the next killer piece of content could be created in Canada.