Hollywood 360: how virtual reality is poised to take on the traditional movie industry, by John Mateer

The Lawnmower Man was the first feature film to depict a new type of technology that enabled characters to explore synthetic, simulated worlds through an emerging new medium called virtual reality (VR). That was 1992.

Using head-mounted displays (HMD) the size of crash helmets and gloves with sensors, VR users were experiencing computer-generated environments and stories in new ways. Through the idea of “presence” – the feeling of actually being part of an artificially created place – any adventure was now possible, at least if the buzz was to be believed.

The film was a hit; now Hollywood studios were watching, waiting for the technology to mature to a point where they could actually create VR experiences for audiences. This idea of “convergence” between old and new media was a hot topic, and extremely attractive as a potential new revenue stream for studios.

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