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The Combination of Games and VR Movies

Updated on December 18, 2019
Tianpeng Yao profile image

UCL-Documentary Film MA Tianpeng Yao is a Filmmaker and specialized in VR Films.

VR movies, namely virtual reality movies, create a new way of human-computer interaction, enabling viewers to obtain an immersive movie viewing experience. With the advent of the age of 5G communication, VR movies will face significant development opportunities. According to Raymond Pao, SVP of products and strategy at HTC Vive, VR movies and cloud games are “likely to be the largest application segments when 5G is combined with VR”—both of them are lucky dogs of the technical time, and now they embrace each other very tightly.

The Advantages of The Combination

James George, the co-founder of Volumetric Video, said: “VR combines the interactivity of game engine virtual reality with the craft and sensibility of filmmaking.” VR movies draw people's emotions through delicate plots and fully guide the audience's attention. On the other hand, the game emphasizes more on the audience's self-selection and freedom. The combination of the two can have complementary advantages, thereby bringing the audience an immersive interactive experience.

For example, the mysterious VR work "Soul Parasite" in 2016 fully integrated the game elements. The movie has forty different plot combinations, and viewers can choose different endings based on their own reasoning choices. This design allows the audience to have a sense of interaction, resulting in a better immersive movie viewing experience.

In addition to the plot selection, the game elements are also embedded into the branching plot of VR movies in an independent form. In the work "Buddy VR", which won the Best VR Experience Award at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, viewers can trigger branching plots such as instrumental performance through interaction with Buddy. These branching plots can create a good sense of interaction and increase interest.

Cutting-edge Technical Support

Yimou Zhang, a famous film director, said: “cutting-edge technical is changing everything, especially film.” The more advanced gaming experience is to let the audience's body appear in the movie scene and explore the new world. And this requires the support of new technology.

One of the most important technology is photogrammetry, which uses several cameras to capture high-resolution images of a person or a location from as many angles as possible, and then, using a computer program, pieces together all the images into a 3D person or environment. Photogrammetry reconstructs the real world and allows viewers with VR headsets to get into the reconstructed world, walk around freely, and talk with the characters in the movie.

Based on the game design, viewers can interact with Non-Player Characters and trigger different movie plots. The viewers are no longer passively accepting what the director told, but are actively exploring the story.

The Issues of The Combination

The combination of VR movies and games is the tendency of the day, but there are some issues worth noting. The biggest issue is that the combination of VR movie and game may confuse the viewers.

The game elements give the viewers initiative, but too many game elements may cause the movie plot to lose its original narrative logic and may cause viewers to miss the subtle plot originally designed by the director.

Just imagine, in the last second, the viewers may be immersed in the cool game experience, but in the next second, they lose their way, don't know how the movie plot should go on, and even fall into the "Fear of Missing Out"—a psychological phenomenon, fearing that they missed other more interesting movie plots or key messages. Also, the cost of production is too high, the production equipment is immature, etc are the difficulties that need to be faced in the combination of the two.


The combination of movie and game is like a double-edged sword, which may meet both opportunities and challenges; but opportunities are greater than challenges, in general.

© 2019 Tianpeng Yao


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