Avatar director James Cameron thinks about VR every day, but he doesn’t believe that Hollywood will take advantage of the technology for a few more years — and quite frankly, he doesn’t share all the recent hype about Oculus: “There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that is… a yawn to me,” Cameron said during an on-stage interview at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Southern California Wednesday.
Cameron dismissed Oculus as merely a display, albeit one with a good price point, for a technology that has been around for 20 years, quipping: “You want to move through a virtual reality? It’s called video game.”
One of the main problems Cameron seemed to have with Oculus and similar approaches to VR is that they don’t actually offer new ways to tell stories. “Cinema is cinema, games are games,” Cameron said. But it would take a lot more to come up with real interactive experiences for consumers. To do this, Cameron said that it may require new ways of storytelling that are much less linear than the traditional way of making a movie.
Another trend that didn’t quite happen yet is 3-D in the home, something that Cameron attributed to the necessity to wear glasses with existing 3-D TVs. “The glasses don’t work because it’s too exclusive,” he argued, adding that people are fine to have an immersive experience like that in the theater, but not in their own home. However, Cameron hasn’t given up on 3-D for consumers just yet. Eventually, glasses-free displays will reach consumers, he said, but possibly not through TV sets. “It could take a 3-D iPad,” he said.