On my third trip to Sundance, I no-joke witnessed the (re-)birth of a medium. Virtual reality was everywhere, and it dominated our coverage. Colleague Bryan Bishop and I surveyed the landscape:
"It really starts this year," says Fabian Troxler, a co-founder of Birdly. "People realize you can do so much more than gaming stuff. You can also tell stories." Which isn’t to say that VR has fully arrived: "It’s still new and there are still a lot of troubles we have to solve," he says. Birdly is highly immersive even for VR: fans blow air on you as you fly, and headphones simulate whooshing noises dependent on your movements. Troxler’s team is currently working to insert smells into the simulation — anything, he says, to further the suspension of disbelief.
You can also check our our roundup of the best VR experiences at Sundance, and of our favorite traditional films. We also did a special edition of the Vergecast from Park City with our colleague Emily Yoshida.