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Collision: VR Content Democratization Key to Proliferation

At the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans, it's clear that Virtual Reality is growing beyond its gamer roots, extending to entertainment, education, and commerce. Unfortunately, the content is expensive to product, requiring engineering and production teams to build out content, a bottleneck that limits expansion.

The PGA Tour has teamed up with STRIVR to create 360 training sessions with professional golfers. In one, the viewer participates in the stretching routine of Miguel Angel Jimenez while getting training on a flop shop in another. The tour hopes VR will create more engaging content. Sloan Kelley, Senior Content Director at the PGA Tour, says that "With VR, versus watching something in 2D on your television, computer, or phone, you really can get a sense of where the ball is, how the golfer is gripping their club and things that are super important to people that play the game."

But this content is highly complicated and expensive to produce. STRIVR's Derek Belch says that "headset proliferation is right around the corner." The mismatch in the time it takes to create content versus the time it takes to consume content is likely to create a vacuum with consumers clamoring for more.

Some providers have turned to live video to create a constant stream of content. This year, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival teamed up with YouTube to stream 360° video during the second weekend of the festival. Viewers got a chance to see not only the festival grounds, but could also move the camera around during performances.

Another way to fill the void is to exponentially boost the number of people creating content. Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab spoke at the conference saying that with photos, "when all of us can actually produce and share and consume each others stuff, it just takes off like crazy. The same thing will happen with VR. Today it's only in the hands of technology organizations to produce immersive VR experiences."

Linden Lab, creators of Second Life, have created Project Sansar that hopes to let anyone create VR content. Using Sansar, people can create their own environments and upload it for others to consume. Anyone can apply for the creator preview now and the company hopes to have it generally available by the end of 2016.

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