In-Scope: Is Ready Player One’s immersive narrative fiction or science?

 James Pinero is a Senior Social Media Manager for OMD Brisbane, bringing innovative social content solutions to a wide range of client challenges. 

Steven Spielberg’s latest movie “Ready Player One” centres around a company which is using VR as a content vehicle to deliver memorable and immersive experiences. In the movie, multiple characters’ perception of the company’s values and purpose are profoundly changed through immersive narrative. While the VR technology in “Ready Player One” remains mostly science fiction, is the ability to change people’s feelings through the use of immersive narrative closer to science or fiction?

Current VR technology is already starting to deliver new forms of immersive narrative. According to Forrester, VR is unlike any channel to date: Highly immersive and intimate, with a future integrated with social and the internet of things (IoT).

Focusing on the technology to create more expensive and immersive VR experiences won’t change your audiences’ feelings in the way seen in Spielberg’s movie. This form of VR experience, while certainly popular, lacks any real ongoing consequence for the audience. Once the VR headset comes off they are no longer part of the story.

In “Ready Player One” what changes each character’s perception isn’t the thrills of the actions sequences. It’s actually the slower sequences when the characters take time to fully comprehend the context around critical moments that formed the company’s purpose and values. How each character feels about the company continues to play a part in the company’s story. The story continues after the headset comes off.

Footwear manufacturer TOMS have brilliantly combined Mobility and VR to drive home the impact of their mission “One for One” – a pledge to match each pair of shoes purchased, with a new pair for a child in need around the world. The immersive experience takes you on a behind -the-scenes trip to Peru, giving you a first hand understanding of perspective of the initiative. Connecting an immersive experience to a call to action offers you an opportunity to join their mission with a simple purchase decision.

In “Ready Player One”, Spielberg creates an immersive story by focusing on the details of the narrative and not on the VR technology. Fully immersive social content, delivered via VR, can be the key to help brands communicate their purpose and values. It’s important to include a clear call to action and to prioritise strong narrative. After all it’s the narrative that drives emotion, not the technology.

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