Opening at the theatres on 29th March, its arrival is simultaneous to Oculus and other VR brands trying to push their new virtual reality products.
The film, in a similar tone of the cult-classic Matrix Trilogy, shows characters escaping from a dystopian future Ohio by plugging into an alternative universe by means of VR headsets. The movie is getting raving reviews from watchers, and tech speculation think Spielberg Ready Player One will give VR a maxed popularity.
VR headsets which were introduced about five years ago have not yet become so mainstream. Last year the growth was much slower than expected. Users complained of less app content, expensive headsets with clunky and difficult setup system. Many of the headsets must be tethered to pricey PCs or game consoles in order to be used.
January gave some good news to the consumers at the Consumer Electronics Show, with the announcement of several new products and initiatives by the manufacturers. A collaboration of Google and Lenovo created a standalone VR headset, and there have been talks about the release of new features for its smartphone-based Daydream VR platform. HTC has announced a new version of its powerful headset with much better graphics. Facebook’s Oculus announced new specs of its upcoming $200 Go Headset. It will run on a Qualcomm chip, making it more portable.
This year, VR is supposed to see a record 25-plus percent growth, according to the Consumer Technology Association. Spielberg’s film could provide this boost an extra rev-up. Ready Player One VR movie is based on a novel of the same name. The action takes place in 2045 following the lead Wade Watts, living in a teeming trailer park in Columbus, Ohio. He and several other characters become addicted to a 3-D virtual world called OASIS, which true to its name provides an escape. As for the VR headsets used in the film, they were designed by the filmmakers for the purpose.
Hollywood has always helped in boosting sales even before advertising came up. Movies such as “The Blues Brothers” and “Top Gun” can be credited for boosting the sales of several sunshade brands like Ray-Ban in the 1980s and 1990s. “E.T.” revved up the sales of Reese’s Pieces. The James Bond movie “GoldenEye” boosted the pre-orders of a new BMW roadster. The “Toy Story” franchise is famous for reviving Etch-A-Sketch.
VR’s future is getting brighter, but according to Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., this technology will gradually be supplanted by augmented reality. Manufacturers like Facebook, Sony and Google talked about VR at last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. On the other side, engineers from Apple have described the benefits of AR.
Apple’s AR software uses iPhone and iPad cameras. The company has tasked a multitude of engineers to build an AR headset to be sold within 2020. Amazon is on an almost similar path. Spielberg’s movie can boost VR for a short time. Yet it may just be that the dream of world’s top-grossing director will not win against the technological wizards based in Cupertino and Seattle.