Upon the launch of the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition way back in 2015 there was a clear definition of how, for the next few years at least, virtual reality (VR) could be defined. Creators from traditional media were making the jump across to VR and bringing their established conventions with them; filmmakers looked to 360 video as a way to innovate whilst game designers would use the same hardware for immersive gameplay experiences. The two however, were kept very much separate. Even to this day there have been some small experiments, but very few are brave enough to truly cross that interactivity line. WeMakeVR however, are betting everything on it.
The Amsterdam-based studio is subtle in its confidence; knowingly discussing the current state of VR and what the future holds whilst referencing their learnings from the experimentation of past projects. There’s no one solution, the studio consensus offers, but the route that WeMakeVR has decided to take certainly seems to be a step ahead of most of their competitors.
“We’re always on the search of finding that perfect balance between story-telling cinematic experiences and the wonders of interactive gaming,” states Avinash Changa, Founder & CEO of WeMakeVR, in their open plan studio. “We are quite innovative in story-telling, in moving cameras in a virtual environment, but then we started collaborating with other studios.”
Changa tells the story of how he was inspired by a game development studio to bring more interactivity into the work WeMakeVR do. From the project Meeting Rembrandt: Master of Reality came the inspiration to push further. To take live action film beyond the limits of 360 video and into interactive narrative.
“So OK, we’ve known our things in story-telling, we’ve done interesting things in stereoscopic video: now we’re getting to the stage of like, ‘what if we could do volumetric video, 360 video, interactive in-engine functionalities, story-telling and gaming?’ and create a perfect storm. A perfect hybrid experience between all of that,” continues Changa extremely enthusiastically.
Changa is undoubtedly incredibly enthusiastic about what the future holds not just for WeMakeVR, but for the medium as a whole. Keen to try new technologies and push boundaries, Changa has also experimented with Admix, a non-intrusive monetisation platform designed for VR, being one of the first to integrate the solution into 360 video.
Wherever the medium may go, WeMakeVR has unintentionally positioned itself as a very early leader. A combination of client-based work, consumer-focused experiences and internal experimentation will allow theories to be proven and rules to be broken in the exact same way and game developers moving to VR have been doing everyday since the launch of the Oculus Kickstarter in 2013, and the leaps that 360 video has made in this time are no less impressive. Ultimately, looking beyond the barriers of technology and the language or cinema versus that of games, WeMakeVR has just one goal:
“We try to create experiences that are fun, and ideally also improve quality of life or are actually useful to people.”
Kevin Joyce has been working with immersive technology since 2013, establishing VRFocus.com as one of the leading AR and VR publications before joining Admix, a non-intrusive advertising platform designed specifically for immersive experiences, as Lead Evangelist.