When 360 Is Not What It Used To Be

Last week, I was in Barcelona attending Cartoon 360, a pitching event for animated transmedia projects. Virtual reality (VR) as well as augmented reality (AR) were one of the hot topics and themes both in the pitched projects and keynote presentations.

As animation might be the most beautiful flower in the bouquet of VR possibilities, I was curious to hear how producers and creators are including VR elements in the projects that will be launched in two to three years. The clunky impression I got is that most projects are including some VR because otherwise they wouldn’t be the cool kids on the block as everybody is doing VR now.

During the coffee break we were joking with one of the participants that now when you have the number 360 in your event name, it means a different thing than a year or two ago. Earlier 360 strategy meant that your project or IP (intellectual property) had marketing potential to spread to other platforms and areas: like from movie to computer game to mobile application to merchandising and so on. While now, 360 is largely a VR term with YouTube and Facebook promoting their 360 video viewing platforms and 360 cameras capturing everything around in 360 degrees.

During the Keynote presentation »Alternate Realities: Improving the Existing Reality,« there was a larger focus on AR as there’s a huge potential for animated characters, e.g. dinosaurs running around in your room. Basically pretty much everything that doesn’t exist in reality will be animated in AR. There’s a brilliant view of our AR powered future from designer and filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda of what the future could look like.

Personally, I can’t decide: is it crazy scary or crazy interesting? I just leave it here for you to decide.