The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Virtual Reality

/// The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Virtual Reality

February 3, 2014  |  Blog


Talk NYC is kicking off its new contributor series with Jordan Holberg, Director of Technology at TBWA/Chiat/Day NY

The Oculus Rift changes everything. If 40% of those words meant absolutely nothing to you, that’s ok… for now. Soon enough, you’ll understand. But know this now: the unambiguously important shift the Rift represents isn’t a fad, it’s not a gimmick and this isn’t the 90s virtual reality trend all over again. The Rift (and the industry it’s about to spawn), is the most important entertainment device of the next ten years. If I’m wrong, feel free to beat me with a spoon.

I’ll spare you the long-winded, hyperbolic (except it’s not) explanation of what the Rift is and why it’s so amazing, technically and experientially. If you get a chance, try one of these virtual gaming devices out for yourself… you’ll understand. More than likely, you’ll be trying out a demo of space shooter, riding a roller coaster or exploring a dungeon.

The Rift, however, has implications far beyond gaming. Think movies, medicine, health, exploration, rehabilitation, research, fabrication… the list goes on. Oculus, the company that makes the Rift, has stated that they see themselves as a platform for publishers. That means content created specifically for the Rift and a direct channel to users of their products. You don’t have to be a psychic to know what demographic will come to dominate the consumption of that space for entertainment purposes.

So what, then, do we as content creators and strategists do to prepare for such a shift? How do you stay ahead of the curve and partner with brands to deliver something that really is brand new?

We’ve been involved in conversations through social. We’ve engaged on-the-go through gaming. We’ve forged partnerships to deliver experiences on screens of all sizes and in-person. Now we need to think about virtually transporting someone, somewhere, at any time. Tricking the brain and giving people something truly amazing to experience. The promise and potential of virtual reality is here—this year.

Car “commercials” where you actually get to sit in the cockpit, look around, fiddle with the knobs then blast off from zero to sixty in 3.4 seconds and really feel like you’re there; Virtual tacos you can explore with your face (hey, smell-o-vision could finally make sense); Internal medicine demos that shrink you down to the size of a blood cell to show you what’s really going on; Adult experiences (maybe you actually ARE in the gutter!).

We’re talking engagement to the max. Think about what excites you as a person. What experiences get in your head, make you think (or make you not think at all) and turn you on? Now, realize that when you have a Rift strapped to your face, it feels like you’re really, actually there. Go create.

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Jordan Holberg is the Director of Technology of TBWA\Chiat\Day NY, where he works across all the agency’s clients including GSK, Pernod Ricard and Michelin. His role will see him oversee all technology responsibilities for TBWA’s clients, working at the intersection of Production, Creative and Delivery.
Jordan has previously worked for Barney’s New York as E-Commerce Director and Lead Developer, and was also responsible for founding companies, including The Zombi Corporation, Sugar Serials and Mappily Ever After.


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