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James Cameron doesn’t think Oculus is a big deal

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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.”

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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.

5 Responses to “James Cameron doesn’t think Oculus is a big deal”

  1. Randall Rudd

    Cough. James Cameron is no “visionary,” or he would instantly see the capabilities of this new medium of immersion. Cameron is old just another crusty old school Hollywood “husk.” One can and should expect Hollywood to be the last to convert to the obvious. Hollywood was extremely reluctant to adapt to CGI 30 years ago, and it’s famously terrified of change. Just Imagine what a whole new medium will do to their precious status quo. Can’t wait to find out!

  2. How could a visionary such as Cameron fail to see the enormous potential of full-immersion VR for new modes of story-telling? I expect this quote will be remembered in much the same manner as the general who infamously predicted that aircraft would never be useful for any military purpose.

  3. Anonymous

    “You want to move through a virtual reality? It’s called video game.”

    Moving your head to change your perception in a video game adds an entire new level of depth, as well as tricks your brain into perceiving the game as more real than if you were watching a screen from 6ft away sitting on your couch.

    The brain is a suprisingly easy thing to trick. VR displays do a great job at it.

    *gif of girl panicking after being decapitated by a guillotine **IN GAME** while wearing an Oculus Rift*

    Her reaction was something that no current game could ever get out of people. Because she had tricked her brain into thinking what just happened had **actually happened**.

    Going to love watching him eat his own words in 2-3 years.