Fred Volhuer is a digital entrepreneur. He is a CEO and co-founder of Atlas V, an immersive entertainment outlet. We were lucky to interview Fred during the AVRA Days conference. He shared with us his first experience with VR and his thought on the future of the VR industry.
What was your first encounter with VR like?
I was hired as executive producer of a project that was one of the first documentaries ever done in virtual reality. That’s when I encountered VR. I was impressed, but I was more intrigued by the potential of it.
Will VR/AR eventually replace 2D screens?
I don’t believe in replacement. Books still exist, radio exists, television exists. Nothing ever replaces anything. But I do think that screens, in general, are not the best way to communicate, I think it’s better to have an environment, whenever you want to be involved in a story, why would your whole environment not change? It’s better to be immersed in the story if you want to get involved in it, right? So it’s a whole dimension of escapism. If you want to talk about something, you want the users to escape in your story, if you want them to escape it’s better if the content is all around. Screens are not the best and the ultimate way to communicate, we are born with them but I think that we are not going to die with them.
Is there anything that will never be possible to do in VR?
I think in a way the emotional connections that you create with the content are not typically the same that you have in real life. I very much enjoy the reality, and it’s gonna stay like that. Sometimes we need to escape, people need to escape. The reason why you watch entertainment is that you want to escape something that you feel deep inside. But your daily life is something wonderful and you still want to be connected with people, right? So being in virtual reality or augmented reality is just going to be something that we use as a tool to get entertained or to learn about something, but it’s never going to be the center of our lives.
If you were preparing a survival kit for a VR developer, what would it include?
Honestly, I think the only thing that people need right now to create VR is a lot of perseverance. I think it’s a difficult environment because the tools are not great for production, you have to take a lot of bets on how you make your own production, and then distribution is not there. So the reason why we are all here today is that we have faith that this medium that we are creating is great and potentially the best we have ever created. And this faith and perseverance is the only thing we need to be in that environment.
If you had the power and budget to do absolutely anything for the VR industry, what would you do?
I have 2 dreams, two projects I really wanna do, and I am looking for funding whenever I can or maybe I will do them myself. I wanna make people work on the moon, you know? I wanna launch people on the moon to work on gravity in virtual reality. And I want to reduce people and make them visit the human body and learn about it.
Thank you, Fred, for your insightful answers! Best of luck with your future projects!
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