Podcast – Latest and greatest developments in VR/XR 2017: Benjamin de Wit, VR Days Europe’s festival director

Benjamin de Wit is on top of the latest in VR, AR, MR and XR in general and talks about the latest and greatest developments in VR, XR, extended reality.

Listen to (or download) the podcast with Benjamin, talking about

  • Most interesting, concrete creative developments
  • The place in time where we are in XR
  • ‘I was trained as an actor and with XR we have a new platform to tell stories’
  • VR in healthcare, training, retail, science and social interactivity

Meet Benjamin at VR Days Europe 2017.

0’30 — Merging worlds

What I think is happening is that the creative world, healthcare world and the enterprise world is that they seem to merge more and more. So what you use in a creative scene is what you use in a training application. The social interactivity you might have with a productivity tool, in the end maybe you have a creative application for that where you have an interactive creative experience. You see these worlds merging and what I see is that the minds, the people, who are driving these developments in each of these industries, have a lot in common. These are all very creative people who always think out of the box: How can we use what we see in this world with that world and mix it. People in healthcare easily talk to people who are in the audio or the more visual areas. These are all very creative people who have the desire to develop new and exciting stuff.

1’45 — Challenges in XR

Next steps are: better goggles, smaller goggles and creatively there is still a lot to develop.
Hurdles are multiple: technically, the playback — just the fact of having a headset on your head is intrusive. The cables — always something pulling — really breaks the immersion, hampers the fun. The quality of the screens is still not good enough for consumers. And maybe more important is the creative level, where developments are moving slowly. A lot of it is developed by VR enthousiasts, instead of very creative minds who already have been succesful in other industries. There are only a handful pieces that are on a very high and creative level. Because there is not a real incentive for people from other industries to start working in VR. People in opera, theatre, film, why would they start working in VR? For a lot of them it’s now too early, because there is no consumer base, the tools are difficult to work with, the workflow pipeline is still very difficult. You can see a lot of improvements there: all kinds of creative tools that are becoming more and more accessible for non coders. Still, it’s a hassle. It’s a hassle to create VR. You really have to want it very very much. So this is also the moment it’s becoming a little bit more difficult for content creators. Because it takes more time for the consumer market to grow, investment is drying up a little bit. Where do we still see acceleration? In England, France, Canada, Germany: places where you have some good funding institutions in place. And I think it should always be matched by commercial parties, because otherwise you are dependent on the life support of subsidies, which is not good. But in this moment it’s important that there is some institutional help for content creators.

At the same time the screens are getting better, creative is getting better, with institutes like National Theatre putting force behind it. And CNC in France going for VR, we see Venice, Tribeca film festival putting force behind it.