Taiwan-based tech giant HTC Vive approaches this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) event as an important milestone. The global leader in virtual reality will be presenting two of its recent original creations that will lay the groundwork for the future gameplay of VR products in the highly anticipated Web 3.0 era.
The two featured productions, “The Sick Rose” and “Beatday — The Beginning — Mini VR Concert,” pictured above, are representative of HTC Vive Originals’ future direction, said its president Liu Szu-ming.
“Riding on the state-of-art VR technology, Vive Originals will continue to create entertainment experiences that have high cultural values for the metaverse. These content outputs include film, music, animation, interactive art and performing arts,” Liu told Variety.
“With the development of VR technology at the core of our development, our future creative output will incorporate elements such as interactivity, 3-D aesthetics, blockchain, encrypted information channels and AI technologies.”
Pandemic-themed “The Sick Rose” is a stop-motion animated work co-directed by Tang Zhi-Zhong and Huang Yun-Hsien. The title, which follows a sick little girl’s fantastic journey during the pandemic, debuted at the VR competition section of the Venice Film Festival last year. It is an experiment in combining traditional Taiwanese dough figurine handicraft and VR filming technologies. Jointly produced by HTC Vive Originals and TurnRhino Original Design Studio, the film took 14 months to produce in the studio and was shot with the high-end 360 8K stereo 3D micro-photography.
“‘The Sick Rose,’ which explores humanity and the innocence of children against the backdrop of the pandemic, is a new cultural hybrid that merges traditional craftsmanship and VR technology,” Liu said.
“Beatday,” on the other hand, is an experiment of how live concerts may look like in the futuristic age of Web 3.0. The version that will be presented at SXSW is the first VR experience of the “Beatday” franchise, a multi-player experience that allows audiences to immerse themselves in a concert through a VR headset. Audiences at SXSW will be able to enjoy a virtual experience of Taiwanese indie band Amazing Show’s performance of their hit song “Mark Twain.”
The production of “Beatday” is challenging, said Liu, as it demands greater quality in terms of technological advancement and aesthetics. Bringing the title to SXSW, which reaches out to a different, but more commercial and wider audience compared to traditional film festivals, helps to promote not only Vivi Originals’ creations but also Taiwanese creative output, Liu added.
“‘Beatday’ is the next-generation live-concert experience. From its level of creativity to aesthetic value, this title has reinvented what virtual reality can be,” Liu said.
In fact, “Beatday” is only the first step of Vive Originals’ experiment. In the future, “Beatday” will play an integral role in the development of the metaverse, which will connect with blockchain technology, supporting other Web 3.0 elements such as NFTs and wallet, allowing users to travel in between other metaverse platforms in their avatars, Liu said. Users can choose to attend whichever concert they want, virtually, and also create their own concert. It is also possible to develop a “play to earn” mechanism, allowing players to generate income from the virtual realm.
“By bridging the gap between the real world and the virtual world, players will get a chance to create a second life in the metaverse. We will be beefing up the line-up of our upcoming performers, inviting singers and musicians from across Asia and the rest of the world to stage all various kinds of virtual concert events,” Liu noted. “‘Beatday’ is going to be an entirely new ecosystem.”