CES Watch: HTC Vive VR in Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”

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Ready Player One movie

That Steven Spielberg is bringing Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel about virtual reality, Ready Player One, to the big screen in March 2018 is a major milestone for VR—and for the movie’s official VR partner, Vive.

The HTC-owned Vive VR system has created the virtual reality content for the film (tagline: “A Better Reality Awaits”), who designers, coders and engineers are also taking its inspiration from the book, which has become mandatory reading at HTC.

The plot depicts a world where VR is intertwined in every aspect of our daily lives, a “VR-First future,” commented Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC’s president of Vive in China. “On the whole, Ready Player One is surprisingly insightful for a novel about a technology that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world.”

Ready Player One will do for VR what Avatar did for 3D in general awareness,” Graylin added. “What form of the future is finally realized is ultimately up to us as a people, and how we decide to leverage the potential of this disruptive technology.”

Warner Bros. has just released the first trailer, which gives a glimpse of the virtual world that Spielberg, who’s directing this time, has created. And while CES attendees will be able to check out HTC’s VR tech, it’s already gaining buzz in advance marketing for what looks to be a major box office hit in 2018.

The science fiction action adventure film is based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. It’s set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse.

The citizens of Earth have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.

Ready Player One movie

When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) joins the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Spielberg directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. The film was produced by Donald De Line, Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris DeFaria and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

The producers released a teaser at San Diego Comic-Con in July, but this is the first real look at the universe, which is a throwback world of 80’s music (Van Halen’s Jump is the trailer soundtrack), sci-fi lore, old video games and TV characters in the OASIS.

Ready Player One movie - Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook

“There are so many more compelling reasons to escape into the OASIS than exist in real life,” Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly, making it a cautionary tale for our times.

“A lot of our movie is a comparative study: Which world would they rather spend their lives in — with all the distractions and complexities and perks of the digital world of the OASIS, or with the responsibilities of being a student or a parent living in real life? It’s real life versus virtual life. Which is more compelling? It was a very active flashback for me. It was like getting into a time machine and getting back to the ’80s and making a movie again.”

Graylin noted 16 insights about VR from Cline’s book as food for for individuals and businesses:

1. We will be more dependent on VR devices than we are on our phones today.

2. VR may play a bigger role in our future lives than AR.

3. Network speeds and cloud computing capacity will be the key utility of the future.

4. Everyone will become ‘gamers’ and watching game streams will be a major pass-time.

5. Virtual Schools will democratize high quality education to the world.

6. Remote work via VR will become the norm.

7. VR can erase race and gender inequality gaps.

8. Gathering experiences and access will be more important than gathering wealth.

9. Virtual currency will become more relevant to our lives than traditional currency.

10. A huge economy is coming for virtual goods and services.

11. Home food delivery may become the most common way to eat.

12. VR platforms should put in safeguards for managing physical health into future systems.

13. VR can make physical distance irrelevant in our daily lives; VR natives may never meet their best friends in real life.

14. Privacy and data security will be critical to enable an acceptable VR-First future.

15. VR can reduce our ecological footprint to enable a more sustainable environment.

16. Even in a virtual world of abundance, humans still have a need for greater purpose.

Showing how that greater purpose can work, HTC has announced a multi-million dollar VR initiative to support content, creators and institutions that embrace VR. Called VIVE Arts, some of its cultural content will also be made available on Viveport, Vive’s digital marketplace.

HTC has partnered with museums worldwide since the launch of Vive in 2016 and its headsets are now used at museum exhibitions at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Taipei’s National Palace Museum, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, Washington D.C.’s Newseum and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. One current project is in London’s Tate Modern exhibition, “The Ochre Atelier: Modigliani VR Experience.”

“With the launch of Vive Arts, we are driving Virtual Reality’s influence in art and providing access to our world’s cultural heritage. We are empowering artists to create, and consumers to experience and interpret, art and culture in new ways,” stated Joel Breton, VP of VIVE Studios. “We are thrilled for the next Vive Arts’ project with Tate Modern, and support their mission to increase the public’s enjoyment and understanding of international modern and contemporary art.”

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