It seems like every week Samsung has a new virtual reality experience for us to sink our teeth in the now sold out Gear VR headset. Last week, Samsung released the Samsung Internet app for Gear VR, allowing users to surf the web or watch YouTube videos in a VR optimized browser. Even though Samsung Internet is still a beta app, the company is showing its willingness to experiment and evolve the way users interact with content in Gear VR.
Now Samsung is elevating the way users may interact with live action virtual reality stories with a new interactive VR thriller called GONE.
Set to premiere exclusively on Samsung Milk VR Tuesday 12/8, GONE is the latest project created in partnership with Walking Dead creators Skybound Entertainment. The original series, which is set to have new episodes rolled out over the coming months, is what Samsung is calling an introduction to “exploratory video.”
Exploratory Virtual Reality Video
The premiere episode of GONE will be accompanied by a tutorial video to walk users through on how to interact with an “exploratory video.” Samsung may be breaking some serious virtual reality ground with this latest innovation, allowing navigation of multiple points of view within environments.
It’s sort of like “choose your own adventure,” but GONE is adding a mystery element to the entire story. Not only will users be able to explore different paths, but they will also be able to investigate different characters and objects in order to solve the mystery of GONE.
The story revolves around a mother’s journey to find her nine-year-old daughter who vanished in broad daylight, soon discovering that her secretive, and possibly visionary daughter is much more than simply gone.
The series, which was also produced by virtual reality studio Wevr, is an exciting evolution of interactive virtual reality experiences. One challenge for many content creators is figuring out how to get viewers to come back and watch the content again after having already experienced it. The idea of an “exploratory video” format opens up new ways for users to control and learn from the story, with each episode meant to be watched multiple times in order for viewers to uncover new clues or perspectives.
Although “exploratory video” may not be as exploratory as positional tracking from an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, where user body and hand movements are tracked within a physical space, GONE can hopefully show us what is possible on a mobile headset like Gear VR.