As I mentioned in past episodes, we were already seeing a huge increase in interest in Virtual Reality and Augmented reality, and at E3 that interest exploded. Oculus Rift demoed the production version of its VR headset along with its previously unannounced “Touch” controller, designed to provide even more immersion and control of VR content.

Microsoft also demoed its Hololens VR device with an amazing Minecraft demo that gives a clear indication of why Microsoft acquired Mojang, the creator of Minecraft. The immersion allowed by Hololens and the freedom provided in a sandbox world like Minecraft seem an almost perfect fit. As a Minecraft player myself, I would love to be able to explore my shared world using Hololens. It would take an already amazingly immersive game to new, unforeseen, heights.

A quick search of YouTube and other sites will turn up a huge amount of hands-on reviews of both of these devices if you want a more in-depth look. While you might not be able to experience these technologies yourself right now, you can learn a bit more through these online proxies. Still, I think the only way to truly understand VR is to experience it yourself, which points up an on-going issue that need to find a solution.

Despite all the interest in VR and AR at E3, though, the virtual reality demos and announcements pointed up one large problem with demonstrating VR products to groups of people. Such an immersive, intimate experience like VR doesn’t easily translate to the flat 2-D world of product presentations. With a traditional video game, a cinematic video or live game play can effectively duplicate the actual experience a player might have. Not so with VR. Sure, you can show a wide screen 360 degree of what a virtual player might see, but it simply isn’t the same as being the world yourself. The most effective way to demo VR is by allowing people to experience it for themselves. Unfortunately, there aren’t many, if any, places to demo VR equipment and games.

While watching the various E3 demos, it struck me that perhaps there is a need to return to the somewhat ubiquitous “Gamer’s Lounge” storefronts that seemed to be everywhere 10 years ago. These places had many large screen TVs, most of the current gaming consoles and tons of games that could be played for an hourly rate. My son attended many birthday parties at our own local Gamer’s Lounge and even had one party there himself. As consoles and large screen TVs dropped in price these places became less unique and necessary and most closed, although here in LA there is a Gamer’s Truck that provides a similar, mobile, environment that can be brought to your own home.

I can imagine something akin to a VR Apple Store where potential buyers can go to experience VR for themselves in a real-world environment. I think something like this is going to be required in these early stages of the VR market in order to sell that first wave of devices into homes and offices. This need will reduce once enough people have the devices and can begin giving others a taste of the VR experience in their own homes. Harkening back to an even old antecedent, think of it as the old “listening rooms” that used to exist in record stores. You and your friends could sample a new, vinyl record in the confines of sound-proof cubicle. Much that same needs to be done for VR if the market hopes to expand. Perhaps there is a business opportunity there for some adventurous entrepreneur?

What’s your take on storytelling in this new technological age?
How will it affect and enhance your future work?
Send along a comment via email at or on Twitter to @NMIPodcast.

— This Article was written by — Douglas E. Welch

New Media Interchange

Episode #010: The Electronics Entertainment Expo

This is New Media Interchange where we talk about the media world beyond mainstream television and radio, including podcasting, YouTube, live streaming, gaming and more.

NMI is Hosted by Douglas E. Welch, Pioneer Podcaster, Blogger and Writer in Los Angeles.

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