Magazine article Variety

The New Reality of Sundance

Magazine article Variety

The New Reality of Sundance

Article excerpt

The beauty of being part of a team as deep as the one Variety brings to Sundance each year is that not every reporter has to cover films. With that beat handled, I was able to focus on something that doesn't get nearly as much attention in Park City, yet could have a future just as big as film: virtual reality.

While the festival's New Frontier has shone a spotlight on VR for the past five years, 2017 represents a particularly crucial juncture for the technology. This year's showcase came after a full year of availability for of all sorts of hardware dedicated to VR viewing. What once seemed about as commercially viable as jetpacks is now a real product.

That said, don't crown VR as the Next Big Thing just yet. As headset manufacturers from Sony to Facebook's Oculus have discovered the hard way, adoption of this technology is coming along slowly. To borrow research firm Gartner's famous "hype cycle" paradigm, VR currently finds itself in the inevitable "trough of disillusionment" that hits just about every technological innovation cursed by unreasonably high expectations.

But part of the blame for what has held VR back is content. The complaints come in all flavors: There isn't enough. It's hard to find on existing platforms. …

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