3 years ago when I went to Microsoft in Seattle to try one of the first Hololens demos, one thing occurred to me — the future of VR and AR were the same. The minute I tried the headset I felt amazed by the possibilities of creating experiences, journeys and stories that would blend the reality and virtuality.
At the time, I was working as a UX designer and the user was the centre of my Universe. As you should… But when it came to VR, I really struggled to understand what value we, the advertising industry, could bring to an ordinary every day human-being, and how on Earth was Oculus going to convince a mass-audience to buy a $$$, heavy, ugly and clunky headset, in return for a pour visual experience that would likely make you sick.
The only way I could see VR progressing was in gaming and experiences for travel agencies like showcasing a luxury resort in Barbados. And I guess, three years later, that’s still the case…
Back then, AR was also something that seemed out of a sci-fi movie (PokemonGo wasn’t born yet) with products like Google Glass promising to reinvent the way people access information, but never actually delivering. And the same problem posed again, who would want to hear some weird glasses with an obvious camera embedded on the side, making everyone who would cross paths with the user either cringe, hide or punch him/her in the face with the fear of being filmed without permission?*
*You can probably see from my last sentence I do not like to be on camera. :D
Hololense made it clear to me that there is a way to combine virtual and augmented experiences under the same device, meaning stories could be told in both modes, where something could start in AR, move to VR and back to AR.
And that’s where, we creatives and technologists, find ourselves today — amidst the birth of terms like MR and XR, in order to define new ways of immersive storytelling experiences, not constrained or defined by the hardware.
The reason why I decided to write about this topic, it’s not, as you would expect, to ride the XR / MR wave. But because I realised, that as a UX designer, I was already thinking and foreseeing, three years ago, that a synergy between AR and VR would eventually emerge. I just didn’t think of writing about it… silly me!
Today, I am quite passionate about this topic, how we can bring stories to audiences on their mobile devices, using the power of VR and AR combined.
No one has actually cracked the challenge of telling a story in AR, even more in MR or XR.
But it’s just a matter of time.
And, really, what I described, it’s just the beginning of storytelling in MR and XR…
Imagine if we get AI in the mix? 🤯
With the use of computer vision and machine learning, we could have stories adapting to your own environment, adapting to who you are, to your voice, to your face, to your mood…
A fully immersive journey that combines both the real world and a virtual space, all bespoke to you.
Ps.: who wants to make this happen?