MWW 2014 round-up: VR gets very real


Oculus Rift matured in 2014, resurrecting virtual reality from an 80s pipe dream. Now owned by Facebook after a bemoaned $2 billion acquisition in March, the latest Oculus headset has overcome problems of motion sickness and is tantalisingly close to official release this winter. 2014 saw a sudden influx of competition to the Oculus: some high tech, from Sony and Samsung and some ingeniously low tech, like Google Cardboard.

We saw a variety of boundary-pushing apps and experiences taking advantage of VR goggles: the psychedelic Collider; Zero Point, a short film about Oculus Rift for Oculus Rift, collaborative bomb-defusing game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, teaching tools for junior surgeons and experiences that promise to revolutionise the treatment of post-traumatic stress. The tech is on the cusp of being accepted as a mainstream artistic medium, shown later this month when nine new VR experiences will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

What’s next?

The public will finally be able to get their hands on VR headsets this year, hopefully coinciding with an influx of content. We’re looking forward to Brian Cox’s ‘The Age of Starlight’, an augmented reality show co-conceived by Peter Saville and backed by Google. The show is designed around the recently funded Magic Leap platform, which promises to seamlessly blend the digital world with the real, using a combination of precision optics and witchcraft.