Dystopia, brought to you by…

*** SPOILER ALERT: This article contains plot information related to the book READY PLAYER ONE If you have not read the book and do not wish your experience spoiled, please return to this link when you’re ready (Player One). ***

My friend Alvin Wang Graylin, China Regional President of HTC Vive, recently authored a thoughtful op-ed piece entitled, “Real world lessons for the VR-First future: An industry insider’s analysis of READY PLAYER ONE”, the English version of which is published on technode.

As Alvin observes, Ernest Cline’s best-selling book, READY PLAYER ONE, is an insightful fictional take on our virtual reality future, and recommended reading for pretty much everyone, irrespective of your current interest (or lack thereof) in VR. READY PLAYER ONE imaginatively portrays the transformative possibilities of virtual reality across every aspect of our lives. The book also vividly illustrates the dystopian consequences that may arise from the neglect of actual reality in the embrace of virtual reality. At its core, READY PLAYER ONE is a cautionary tale of the consequences of immersive escapism in the face of increasing ecological crisis, economic disparity and socio-political disintegration.

I’ve given Alvin plenty of well-intentioned ribbing regarding HTC’s ongoing use of READY PLAYER ONE’s sandblasted mobile home stacks as a backdrop for their presentations on the “VR-first future.” Mobile home stacks are, to put it mildly, a bad ad: suitable for the poster image of VR contrarian / convert(?) Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming READY PLAYER ONE film adaptation, but questionable as consumer enticement for a VR hardware manufacturer. Imagine a surfboard company advertising with a JAWS poster. 😉

If, as maintained in the technode op-ed piece, “READY PLAYER ONE will do for VR what AVATAR did for 3D in general awareness,” the question naturally follows: “Does this awareness make the general public more or less favorably inclined towards VR?” In other words, is this “VR-first future” a future you want to live in? The hero of READY PLAYER ONE provides a succinct answer: “For me, growing up as a human being on the planet Earth in the twenty-first century was a real kick in the teeth.” His explanation doesn’t get any more complimentary from there.

The global energy crisis, wars, social calamities and ecological disasters which characterize daily life in READY PLAYER ONE aren’t caused by VR technology, but they are facilitated and exacerbated by it. Not only does technological saturation deplete the world’s resources, but VR escapism provides an easy alternative to real-world problem-solving: a new “opiate of the masses.”

I came away from READY PLAYER ONE with three thoughts… (full post on AWN)

Dystopia, brought to you by…

Beijing in the round

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While in Beijing taking spherical reference snapshots for an AR project with my trusty Ricoh Theta, it occurred to me that the “flatties” could serve as templates for 360-degree hutong doodles.

Following are a few such sketches, with the wrapped versions available here on Facebook. (full post on AWN)

Beijing in the round

Jaunt China and Beijing Film Academy Partner on Cinematic VR Lab

BEIJING – Jaunt China, an industry leader in cinematic virtual reality, and the Beijing Film Academy, China’s first and foremost film school, jointly announced the formation of the Beijing Film Academy Digital Media School’s Jaunt China Cinematic VR Lab, the first VR lab and incubator of its kind in China. As part of the academic and industry partnership, Jaunt China will make available its award-winning Jaunt ONE cinematic virtual reality cameras and provide access to its suite of cloud-based workflow tools for VR production and playback. Beijing Film Academy Digital Media School faculty, students and visiting experts will partner with Jaunt China on future research, curriculum development, production projects and internships. (full article on AWN)

Jaunt China and Beijing Film Academy Partner on Cinematic VR Lab

Cooking up a Chinese VR short

360 view: http://vr8.tv/88/3F1840

Earlier this month, immersive content development took an experimental step forward with China’s first improvisational VR “table read” on the interactive cinematic VR short film, FOUR DISHES AND A SOUP. (full article on AWN)

360 view: http://vr8.tv/88/3F187D

Cooking up a Chinese VR short

The only VR metric that matters

Raise your hand if you have a family member who uses VR every day. (article on AWN)

The only VR metric that matters

Where does China’s virtual reality industry stand in 2017?

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Thanks to Chris Colman and the folks at PIG China for the opportunity to further expound on China’s virtual reality industry. This interview was given last December, following my presentation on “The Art of Indirection” at the 7th International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment in Beijing.

Where does China’s virtual reality industry stand in 2017?