“Independence Day” director Roland Emmerich and “Igby Goes Down” producer Marco Weber are getting ready to launch their first virtual reality (VR) project together, and it won’t look anything like their movies — or anyone’s movie, for that matter.
On Tuesday, the duo came out of stealth with VRenetic, a new VR startup that aims to launch a social VR live streaming app dubbed VResh later this fall. “The focus is on accessibility, on social media,” Weber, who serves as the company’s CEO, said in an interview with Variety this week.
Many in Hollywood have embraced VR to make cinematic entertainment with an immersive twist. “We wanted to go in an opposite direction,” said Weber. Instead of producing VR films, Weber and Emmerich, who is chairman of VRenetic, decided to embrace user-generated content.
VResh will offer users a way to live-stream 360-degree videos and interact with their audience, either one-to-one or in a broadcast-like fashion.
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VResh also wants to distribute its own Cardboard-like VR viewer to its users to make sure that they can tune in without a high-end headset. “Not a lot of ppl have headsets,” Weber said. And to further seed the beta test, VResh is even planning to give away fish-eye clip-on lenses that can turn any cell phone into a wide-angle camera.
However, the company doesn’t plan to make money with hardware. “We do not see ourselves in the hardware business,” Weber said. Instead, it simply wants to give users access to its app, which is going to run ads against live streams and uploaded content.
A public beta test of Vresh is planned for later this fall. For now, the company produced an ad that also gives us a glimpse at the headset: