Home How Disney, Jaunt And Others Could Usher In The Age Of VR

How Disney, Jaunt And Others Could Usher In The Age Of VR

Jaunt, one of the companies at the vanguard of the coming virtual reality invasion, aims to pull away from the pack. It just might succeed, now that it’s infused with a new round of investments totalling $65 million. 

The company says the fresh influx of money is going to enable it to “significantly scale up VR production” as well as advance the company’s “professional-grade camera hardware and software production tools, delivering content to the widest array of mobile devices and VR hardware.” Evolution Media Partners and China Media Capital are two other content-driven businesses stumping up cash. 

See also: The VR Headset Market Finally Looks Ready For Take-Off

Responsible for cameras, software and just about every other part of the VR workflow (except for headsets), Jaunt is just one of an army of VR businesses lining up behind the technology. The list is dominated by media and entertainment companies, led by Disney, a reminder that once virtual reality has shaken up the video gaming market, it’s going to swiftly move on to the big and small screens. 

The VR Reality, Materializing

Virtual reality was a nonstarter for years, but now it finally appears to be getting off the bench. The recent surge of interest offers some strong clues about where the technology is heading. 

“Brands, artists, and creatives are looking to reach and interact with their audiences in new innovative ways,” said Rick Hess of Evolution Media Partners in a press statement. The firm’s support will offer Jaunt access to a large network of contacts and expand on its “distribution potential.” 

Jaunt already works with the likes of The North Face, Rebecca Minkoff, Condé Nast and ABC News to produce innovative and branded content. By this time next year, these initiatives will have access to something of critical importance: an audience. 

The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR (née Morpheus) are all due for a consumer launch in 2016.

The Magic Kingdom

Few companies stand to benefit from VR (or can show off its potential) like Disney, with its films, sports, news and music—all areas where VR content makes sense. Beyond that, it’s not hard to imagine virtual reality visits to Walt Disney World in the future as well. 

With the Marvel superhero films, the Star Wars franchise and YouTube hit factory Maker Studios on its books, among many other properties, Disney wants to be one of the first ports of call for anyone buying a VR headset at some point next year. Indeed, with products like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR around, there’s no need to wait—almost any modern smartphone or Web browser can at least show 360-degree video, no pricey system required.

Disney already teamed up with Samsung earlier this year to promote its Avengers: Age of Ultron movie, producing a series of short 360-degree clips that could be viewed online through Android smartphones or via a VR headset. 

The company has also experimented with virtual reality experiences at its theme parks, not through headsets, but as completely immersive worlds where the walls, floor and ceiling act as the VR canvas.

And then there are the kids, the generations of children who’ll grow up with virtual reality as an ordinary way of life. Through initiatives like Disney’s Imagineering Labs, the company is already exploring ways to get the attention of its future audiences, and working out how this new technology might enhance movies, TV shows and more besides. 

Now that Disney has a stake in Jaunt to help it produce the VR content that enthusiasts will demand from next year on, prepare to meet Mickey Mouse as you’ve never seen him before. 

Images courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

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