Virtual reality content seeks to transport users to another place. Put on a VR headset and the world is transformed around you and, at least for me, stimulates a desire to look around. It’s part FOMO and part exploration. As with most video content, one is, well, watching it. But it can be powerful to feel a part of it all, an active participant, too, in VR or with any content.
The Everest Series on the Life VR app (part of Sports Illustrated) is a VR documentary, first and foremost. Between watching that, amid other VR experiences, there are a couple key things I learned about content, in general: The periphery can be cool and treat users like they’re there with you.
Immersion means taking in the surroundings
While the mountain climbing, the high suspension bridges, the ice and waterfalls, were all cool, one part of Everest that stood out to me more than anything was so simple. It was walking down the streets of Nepal. The chance to see average people walking down the street, the shops and traffic; the overall scene of a foreign place.
It was the little things that mattered most – experienced only by actively looking around. What are fans missing out on, what can you show them that they’ve never seen before? Maybe it’s a unique knick-knack in a player’s locker, the hustle-bustle of players and staff and equipment managers for a hurried trip to the airport, the lunch being served after practice and the music playing in the locker room during lunch.
Give a first person perspective of the second-hand content typically being produced. And share the details, little by little.
Make Fans Feel There and Present
One of the most valuable takeaways I’ve had with VR is the power of eye contact. Of the subject looking at you like you’re there and part of it all. It was one thing to be a fly on the wall for some of the conversations on the climb at Everest, but I know it would’ve taken things to another level if the climber was talking to me, the Nepalese Sherpa looking me right in the eye, telling a story or giving a tip.
Everywhere in social and digital media, there is increasing proliferation of live video, and the opportunity for it to be and feel interactive is great. Invite fans into the content with you – show them around, talk to them, enhance the feeling of being there.
The bar for content is constantly being raised and fans these days value deeper engagement with content. Whether it’s VR or not, transporting fans to the surroundings and making them part of the story can deliver amazing experiences with content.