"Episodic narratives did change the game for TV…. I suspect VR will take a similar form but we may not be there yet as the art of VR storytelling is still being defined, the technologies are still being developed and the platforms are still in infancy," explained James Fong, CEO of Jaunt China.
Because major streaming and television companies such as Netflix and HBO have yet to announce their entry into serialized VR content, early entrants are blessed with both advantages and challenges.
For Fong, running time and viewing habits are among the biggest obstacles.
Most VR content is around 10–15 minutes, which isn't much time to remind audiences of backstories, develop fresh plots and a riveting ending, he said. Meanwhile, the popular trend of binge watching is hard to do in VR as people tend to get uncomfortable with tethered head-mounted displays or mobile phones encased in Cardboard after 20–30 minutes, he continued.
But episodic stories are just the tip of the iceberg for the disruptive technology. Going forward, the element of interaction could take consumer experiences to a whole other level.
"The focus will be on more narrative VR content and incorporating some form of interactivity within the narrative itself. For example, one of the ideas that we're looking at is a 'choose your own adventure' story, where viewers can decide the outcome of key pivotal events in the storyline," said Warrior9's Kumar.
More intricate storylines are another possibility, according to Fong. "I believe audiences want to be amazed and mesmerized by master VR storytellers but this time, they want the storytellers to create the entire story for them to experience, enjoy and discover."
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