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Virtual Reality Makes Real Splash at Singapore ATF

Underlining the growing importance of virtual reality, Singapore minister Chee Hong Tat announced the first two VR titles that are part of a partnership with Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.

The pair, “Abandoned,” by Hiverlab and Burning Bush Films, and “Dangerous Jobs,” by Sora Media and Viziofly, are among a series of commissioned VR titles by Singapore companies that will be released in the first half of 2018.

“Through our partnership with Discovery and the innovative use of VR technology, Singapore media companies can showcase their talent to a global audience,” said Chee, senior minister of state for communications, information and health. He was speaking Wednesday at opening ceremony of Singapore’s Asia TV Forum.

Delivering the opening keynote at the inaugural VR X SMF Ignite conference, Mohen Leo, director of content and strategy at ILMxLAB, an immersive entertainment and VR laboratory from Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, discussed the current state of the medium.

“VR need not perfectly mimic reality,” Leo said. Talking about the labor intensiveness of the medium, Leo said: “right now, the ratio of how long we toil to create an experience, compared to how long it takes for the audience to enjoy it is disproportionate.”

The short and medium challenges to VR that Leo listed included low adoption of high-end technology, high cost, a fragmented marketplace and uncomfortable equipment, among others.

The immediate solution according to Leo is location based entertainment where consumers visit a VR-equipped venue. There, for a ticket cost slightly higher than an IMAX film, they can enjoy a high-quality experience using state of the art hardware, and where the length of the experience matches the current comfort factor of technology, with an immersion level difficult to create at home.

As anticipated, at the end of his keynote Leo previewed “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” the VR experience from The Void and ILMxLAB that will release in the U.S. and U.K. this winter and in the rest of the world next year.

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