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C21’s 2016 VR Report

 

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Virtual reality (VR) has been around in various guises for decades, even centuries, according to some. But it’s only in 2016 that headsets have entered the mass market.

While gaming is largely expected to be the driving force behind uptake, some of film and TV’s biggest names have begun experimenting with the medium, exploring scope for new narrative forms and immersive entertainment.

The VR market will be worth US$80bn by 2025 and more than US$4bn has already been invested in the sector, with a string of start-ups – some of which have yet to emerge from stealth mode – benefitting from intense excitement over the technology’s potential.

The possibilities are tremendous and momentum behind VR is arguably unstoppable. But significant challenges to the tech’s uptake remain.

The C21Pro 2016 VR Report shines a spotlight on those at the heart of what might just be a genuine revolution in media and entertainment, profiling leading players over 21 chapters that will publish here over the coming weeks.

Report chapters:

Press the button
In the concluding part of the C21Pro 2016 VR Report, Jonathan Webdale reflects on how VR, eSports and reality TV are set to morph.
Virtual realism
Unit9 has shot VR projects for Sky Italia’s Gomorra and ABC’s Quantico but the firm's Aurelien Simon is concerned the technology is at a critical juncture.
Forging new formats
Former Shine boss Alex Mahon is now heading VFX specialist The Foundry, helping to steer the company into the VR market.
Virtually there
Mike Drachkovitc of 44 Blue's VR studio Ovrture says VR will succeed where 3D failed and that it will only take one big hit to see it transform the TV industry.
Uncharted territory
Here Be Dragons, the VR studio formerly known as Vrse.works, has carved out a name for itself as a pioneer of a new narrative form.
Rollercoaster ride
Launched by two veterans of DreamWorks Animation's virtual reality production arm, Spaces has attracted big-name partners.
Stretching imagination
Cartoon Network was among the first channels to experiment with VR for kids, but does the success of Pokémon Go suggest AR is the way to go?
Visualise this
Visualise is one of the UK’s few start-ups dedicated to VR production, shooting material for the BBC, and for the FT around Rio 2016.
VR leviathan
US VR start-up Wevr has raised more than US$38m so far and collaborated with such firms as Lionsgate. CEO Neville Spiteri offers a deep dive into the company.
Secret mission
Canadian interactive studio Secret Location, recently acquired by Entertainment One, is behind the first ever VR scripted series.
Major league player
NextVR recently raised US$80m in second-round financing, making it one of the most heavily funded VR start-ups around. Its co-founder explains its appeal.
Inside stories
VR might often be seen through a technological prism but Deep Inc founder Thomas Wallner believes storytelling remains the key.
Sky’s next dimension
Sky shut down its 3D channel last year and has now launched its own VR app – but will things work out differently?
Testing the waters
The BBC has produced 360º video experiences for such shows as Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur but VR remains experimental for the broadcaster.
Virtual voyager
As a pioneer of using technology to explore the natural world and now a major sports rights owner, Discovery Communications’ journey into VR is underway.
Exploring the Wonderworld
Simon Romanus, formerly of Endemol Shine Nordics' Friday TV, reveals why he set up his own virtual reality firm, Wonderworld VR, earlier this year.
Jolly Jaunt
Jaunt VR has raised over US$100m to date with a string of media companies among its investors. C21 talks to co-founder Jens Christensen.
Star quality
Littlstar founder Tony Mugavero, who has worked on VR experiences for ABC’s Quantico, reveals why he believes the challenges facing the tech can be overcome.
Turning VR into gold
Alchemy VR's Anthony Geffen on why virtual reality will be different from 3D and what the new medium needs if it is to succeed.
Out of the Jurassic age
With a string of high-profile projects under its belt, Felix & Paul Studios is one of the hottest VR start-ups around. But can it live up to the hype?
Get your goggles on
Virtual reality is gathering momentum, with mass-market headsets on sale and billions being invested – but is it a revolution or a fad?