Virtual reality (VR) will transform into a unique medium of its own, according to Telegraph Group Creative Director Matt Simmonds.

Speaking during the VR World event in London, Simmonds said VR is set to play a defining role in the future of media and revolutionise the way we communicate.

Vr world matt simmonds (2)

Matt Simmonds speaking at VR World 2017

Hit and miss

He said: “The narrative design for VR content needs to be formed depending on the successes and failures during production and creation; it is something which cannot be predicted,” he said.

Simmons likened it to forecasting the future of the world of mobile internet back in 2002. He said: “The reason VR is so exciting is because we don’t know what it’s going to revolutionise and we don’t know what it’s going to invent and that makes it so exciting”.

He said: “We need to build a new type of narrative design, specifically built for this new type of technology, utilising the way we consume and interact with it.”

Does VR have a future? Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of Rewind said: “It is not a gimmick.”

Simmonds used the term VR to encapsulate 360 video, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) because the “fundamental differences between these categories will dissolve and become irrelevant soon,” he said.

2016 was the year we saw VR hit mainstream consumer technology market.

Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear ansd Nokia Ozo have made VR accessible to the public with creatives experimenting and creating unique content for an immersive and engaging experience within the world of VR.

“VR isn’t a story to be watched, it is a virtual space to be experienced” – Matt Simmonds.

New media often follows an innovation S-curve according to Simmonds.

He said: “The innovation curve is relatively flat at the beginning, which is where we work out the fundamentals.

”Then there is a really steep upward curve of innovation and digital expansion, that’s once we solve the inane problems. The market then scales and matures and flattens out because we have basically perfected it.”

Mobile has completed this journey and is curently plateauing because it has matured. “I don’t think VR will be any different to mobile, which has been through the journey,” Simmonds said.

He said: “I think we have passed the ‘crazy idea’ stage and we are just past the ‘make it work’ stage and we are quite nearing the ‘make it work properly’ stage. The industry is making really great progress”.

History repeating itself

Virtual Reality at IBC2016

Virtual Reality at IBC2016

Simmonds said: “countless clients, colleagues and peers continue to make the same fundamental mistakes when creating stories with VR.”

Rather than creating unique content, they’re emanating film, simply recreating the experience of film for a virtual audiences perspective.

The decades have seen creatives adapting and projecting old models onto new frameworks. This was the case for theatre to film and newspapers to online editions.

Simmonds said: “It takes time for a new technology to evolve and it also takes time for producers and consumers to develop an understanding of how to interact with, and create content for this new platform. 

”It’s precisely because we don’t know what it’s going to revolutionise and we don’t know what’s it’s going to reinvent makes it so exciting.”

“VR native storytelling is essentially a wild west of innovation and creativity” – Matt Simmonds.

Simmonds explained: “Collectively the industry doesn’t know what direction VR will go in. However, what we can be sure of is VR will certainly play a major role in the future of media and how we communicate.

”Let’s accept the fact we are still working out story telling of VR and embrace the fact there are no rules yet because then we can be really creative,” he said.