The Hollywood multimedia conglomerate DMG Entertainment is making a move into the virtual reality (VR) industry.
This investment forms part of the foray into a wide variety of IP assets including Valiant comics and the Cosmere universe written by Brandon Sanderson. It is reported that the emphasis for this technology will be on immersive storytelling.
So how does DMG see the move going forward as part of their overall growth strategy?
Arcturus Marks the First Step for DMG VR
The first incubated company under the wider umbrella of DMG VR will be Arcturus. Its focus will be on developing interactive narrative experiences across all VR platforms. There have already been some stellar appointments that will spearhead the Arcturus team.
Ewan Johnson has led production teams at both Pixar and Dreamworks animation, Devin Horsman is well-known leader in the VR industry and Andy Stack was product pioneer for 360/VR Tech which is owned and operated by Google.
These bold appointments so early on in Arcturus’ journey indicate just how seriously DMG Entertainment are taking this step into a high risk, but high growth industry.
What Are DMG’s VR Aims?
Upon announcing Arcturus, CEO and co-founder of DMG Dan Mintz explained:
“We’re developing advanced technology to push storytelling in VR to new heights and combining it with original content, plus original content based on our world-class IP. We are aiming to set a bold new standard for immersive VR experiences.”
The plan is to fund, acquire or partner with other providers in the high-growth VR space to accelerate their reach both in the US and globally, with a particular interest in China, where DMG can build on its competitive distribution edge on rivals.
With theatrical performance attendances dwindling, DMG feel something needs to be done to redress the balance. We now live in an age of streaming services that no longer require us to leave our bedrooms in order to get access to top-rated TV and movie content.
It is hoped by DMG that VR can be used to make visual storytelling a fully immersive experience. May other companies such as Sony and Fox are betting heavily that marrying Hollywood stories with digital wizardry is the key to growth in this very mature industry.
How Have DMG Used VR So Far?
Since this is still a fairly new investment, not much has appeared on the DMG VR front yet. However, they have produced what could be considered a small sample of their future with the release of the Stormlight Archives VR experience on Steam.
It allowed fans to enter the Cosmere for the first time ever. The short game gave some indications as to the early capabilities of the DMG VR umbrella, with the demo taking place on the Shattered Plains of Rostar.
Many fans were complimentary, with the biggest complaint being that there wasn’t more of a game to continue the adventure.
Who Else is Entering the VR Game?
In all honesty, it’s probably easier to name who isn’t!
The main contenders are split into two camps, the intentional and focused, or the huge technology companies who have accidentally got into VR as an expansion of research and development.
For example, Sony (PlayStation VR) and Microsoft (Xbox) have been developing this technology for a long time and are laser focused on enhancing the gaming experience of their respective consoles.
However, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook all have VR divisions now, although their focus may be much broader, they are now starting to choose their specialisms and knuckling down to get ahead of the competition.
Many will consider DMG Entertainment’s VR bid a wise move. Venturing into such a high growth industry can help to facilitate cross-technology collaborations and gives them an edge for introducing VR tech to the Chinese market which they know so intimately.
The question is whether other more focused companies will adopt the Silicon Valley approach of “move fast and break things” leaving other “accidental” VR players such as DMG behind.
It may be the case that DMG manage to crack the (as of yet) unbreakable code of combining Hollywood movies with immersive VR. But only time will tell if this was a shrewd move, or an expensive mistake.