Debt Collector in Virtual Reality.
[Caveat: just like a movie option, whether this actually gets to the screen… or the VR headsets… depends on funding.]
I’ve been sitting on this news for a while, dying to share it. It’s so fitting that a future-noir in an innovative format (ebook serial) would be adapted to this new way of storytelling.
– Immersive Entertainment
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
The idea of Virtual Reality has been around since Star Trek’s holodeck, but fiction is taking a leap toward reality with the Oculus Rift VR headset (not yet released to the public, but developer kits are available). Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook, which recently acquired Oculus for $2B) describes it this way:
“When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”
What is Immersive Entertainment?
Immersive Entertainment is a forward-looking startup company that sees the potential of bringing all kinds of storytelling content to Virtual Reality.
“We create next-generation Virtual Reality Experiences that represent a new form of entertainment. It bridges the gap between video games and movies, providing a level of immersion, emotional engagement and realism never before seen.” – Immersive’s website
The first VR content will obviously be gaming. But once those headsets are in the household, Immersive sees that hardware as portals to bring immersive non-gaming VR entertainment of all kinds into the home. Just as you watch streaming movies through your Wii, the Rift goggles will make VR content accessible to anyone in the household, even non-gamers.
How Will This Work With Debt Collector?
Debt Collector’s serial format provides “episodes” that are perfect for creating a Virtual Reality Series. I’ve been working with Immersive while they translate each of the ebooks into scripts (one of the perks of being optioned by a startup – extraordinary input into the creative process). Immersive’s plan is to create “must watch” VR Series with compelling stories and intriguing characters in a VR environment that will be both unique and entertaining. With VR Debt Collector, you will step into Lirium’s body, see what Lirium sees, and move around in his future-noir world of debt collectors, experiencing the story in a way no screen could capture.
“We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square, whether it’s a movie screen or a computer screen. We’ve got to get rid of that and put the player inside the experience where, no matter where you look, you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That’s the future.” –Steven Spielberg, NYTimes (2013)
When Will Debt Collector Be Available in Virtual Reality?
Several things need to happen before this is a reality in your livingroom. First, manufacturers of VR headests (such as Oculus Rift) need to release their devices to the public. Second, Immersive needs funding to produce their content (such as Debt Collector, their lead VR Series). Funding a startup like this is equivalent to making a small motion picture… but I’m confident that it’s a question of when, not if, scripted content comes to VR, and Immersive is already on the ground with a solid business plan to make it happen.
VR is in our collective future. And I couldn’t be more excited that Debt Collector might be part of that future, breaking new storytelling ground along with Immersive Entertainment.
How Are We Celebrating?
Of course we need to celebrate this, yes? I’m hosting a Facebook Party tonight at 7pm CDT (8PM EDT) to talk Virtual Reality, Debt Collector, and the future of storytelling. Immersive Entertainment’s CEO (Barr Potter) and Chief Content Officer (Dan St. Pierre) will be my guests, taking questions about this innovative startup and creating Virtual Reality scripted content. And there will be Debt Collector giveaways! So please join us at 7pm CDT (8pm EDT) TODAY( 5/13) on the Debt Collector Facebook page for giveaways and Q&A!