Imagine a future where you could experience events taking place thousands of miles away. Photo credit: publicity.
Virtual reality (VR) devices aren’t pervasive enough yet to be considered part of the mainstream, but a startup believes the tilt toward immersive entertainment is inevitable. It’s already started preparing for it.
Tel Aviv-based Inception has its sights set on becoming the “Netflix for VR.” Through its portal, users can browse content filmed exclusively for streaming on VR devices. The startup has snared Ran Telem, the producer of US television show Homeland, to be a part of its team, which also includes executives from Microsoft and visual effects specialists.
The content developed for the platform has been conceptualized, designed, and filmed with VR in mind, Benny Arbel, CEO and co-founder of Inception, explains. That means it’s markedly different from the vast majority of existing VR content – which starts with simplistic video or TV style formats and imports it into virtual reality.
Some of the experiences available for streaming are a backstage VR tour of the musical Wicked, and a virtual interactive museum exhibit of the Salvador Dali Museum in Madrid. All content is free to access. There are other nifty things too, like a VR interactive workout class.
Currently the app is available for Oculus, Samsung Gear, and Google Cardboard. Support for HTC Vive, Playstation, and Daydream is expected soon.
Inception also plans to livestream concerts and music shows. It’s partnered with BoilerRoom, a community of underground music fans, and has a dedicated channel to help audiences across the world tune into live shows.
Inception’s team. Photo credit: publicity.
The focus is only on native content and there aren’t any plans to pivots to areas like gaming. The team wants to aggressively expand the range of titles available – it’s in the process of finalizing deals with content developers. One of the mooted partnerships is with VR art and science content startup Kaleidoscope. The plan is to help indie artists reach a broader audience by hosting their work on Inception’s platform.
“In addition to this, we are developing original formats specifically designed for VR – for example, our ‘This Is Where It Starts’ format which […] really pushes the boundaries of content and technology with hotspots that enable the viewer to hear the story according to their own selections,” says Benny.
The startup is tight-lipped on how much cash it’s raised or growth projections but Benny says VR is a “revolution of the entertainment industry.” He hints that there’s bound to be massive adoption of these devices in the near future.
“No longer is the audience just a 3rd-party viewer […] The user is completely immersed in the VR experience and can actually interact with the content and control his or her storyline, making the experience the next best thing to actually being there,” he adds.