January VR/AR News #3: the VR White House, New Tech Projects and Empathy in Gaming

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For Salon, Games for Change president Susanna Pollack discussed the power that VR games can have on encouraging compassion. “VR in itself, I think whether it’s a game or a story telling experience is a great opportunity for teaching empathy,” said Pollack. “We’re talking about the first-person and the role-playing opportunity to actually be immersed in an environment that you would never have the opportunity to be in through a whole VR experience.”

As President Trump enters office, President Obama gave a final goodbye with a VR tour of the White House shot by Felix & Paul Studios and Oculus. Watch below.

Also leaving his post, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the feature of a new VR film. Watch below as he travels “to more than ten countries in five months to draw global attention to the urgent needs of some 130 million people severely impacted by armed conflicts and natural disasters.”

Could the years of research and development and numerous patents mean that in 2017, Apple will finally deliver VR or AR technology?

For TechCrunch, Elias Constantopedos argues that music should play a more central role when crafting VR projects. “How we use music in VR film now must be thought of a little differently, as we are no longer the passive observer but a participant, perhaps even the protagonist,” wrote Constantopedos. “The challenge here is keeping the audience focused on what we want them to see, and music’s power to draw our attention or subtly influence our behavior can be used to this end.”

For fun: The VR film “Dear Angelica,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, takes the viewer inside the mind of a painter.

Bonus fun: This journalist’s 7 year old son gives him hope for VR.

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