Don’t get too comfortable – while everyone is fussing over mobile disruption and its impact on the news industry, a new technology is on the horizon. Virtual reality will change the way we receive news by essentially living it. Who wants to read about a war abroad, an upcoming event, or even the weather when you can actually live it?
With the help of brands like Microsoft, Google, Oculus, Samsung, Sony, Facebook, etc virtual reality headsets will be available sooner rather than later. When I picture virtual reality headsets, I imagine something along the lines of a video game coming to life, not a display of what would currently be printed in the form of a newspaper. When you think about it though, it just makes sense. If these companies can create a real-time view or a collection of footage and audio that allows the user to feel as if they are a part of the action, why wouldn’t that become our new go-to for news?
Nonny de la Peña has been deemed the “godmother of VR” and is ushering in this new form of immersive technology. She has created several pieces allowing viewers to experience the emotions of the scene as if they were a part of it. De la Peña first worked on Project Syria, attempting to raise awareness for Syrian children refugees by having people witness the hardships they endure on a daily basis.
What I didn’t realize is that virtual reality isn’t necessarily a new idea, its simply becoming more affordable. Now that the technology necessary for these headsets is small and cheap enough, it has the potential to be a popular item in homes worldwide. Oculus Rift, the crowdfunded VR headset, was just sold to Facebook for $2 billion. If Facebook, the social media network of our time, sees a potential in this industry shouldn’t we? It may be a few years before I have a VR headset in place of a TV but I’m very curious, and optimistic, to see where this technology will take us in terms of journalism.