VR Experts Look at Crowdsourced Ratings to Improve Content

Virtual reality stakeholders debating ways to move content into the mainstream are looking at crowdsourced ratings to help improve quality control. Although content is improving in this nascent genre, one bad VR experience can turn off a first-time user to subsequent tries. This, and the need to get a quantifiable number of headsets into the marketplace were identified as chief impediments to VR achieving more widespread acceptance, concluded participants at the first SoCal Virtual Reality Conference and Expo at UC Irvine.

Because VR content is in its early days, some VR experiences are either not well developed or well produced, explains The Hollywood Reporter.

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“It’s not just sticking a camera on something and recording in 360 degrees,” said Jim Willson, director of immersive products/VR for Samsung. “There has to be a reason and rationale. The production needs to be thought out in a way that you take advantage of the 360-degree environment. Filmmakers are trying to figure out what does this mean. How do they control the narrative?”

Samsung’s app Milk VR, which streams VR content, now offers about 200 experiences, and Willson reports that “filmmakers and production companies that we are working with now have better understanding of camera placement, lighting and the post production quality is going up significantly.”

Silicon Valley Virtual Reality meetup organizer Karl Krantz suggested a crowdsourced model for rating VR experiences, and USC computer science lecturer St. John Colon noted that viewers could rate both overall content as well as comfort/technical execution.

“There are very few [VR experiences] I’ll try more than once or twice,” said Colon. “We need to figure out what will keep people coming back.”

Sports is one possible answer, and Samsung’s Milk VR is testing the waters with the recent launch of a U.S. Olympic Committee Reality Experience, which will to offer a 360-degree view of beach volleyball, diving, gymnastics and polo vaulting. Featured athletes include women’s beach volleyball team members Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, diving gold medalist David Boudia, pole vaulter Mary Saxer and gymnast John Orozco.