I wanted to make this clear to those who may not know – and thus be mislead: ANN’s article about ‘stepping into anime’ is complete bullshit.
“Sony‘s new HMD (head-mounted device) takes those who wear it into the world of anime. It tracks your head movements so it feels as if you’re actually inside a cartoon. Turn to your left, and the video you’re watching will swing that way too. The example at Sony‘s booth was for the idol anime The IDOLM@STER and came loaded with two videos. One showed a concert, with the wearer in the perspective of an audience member. The other (seen below) is set in the offices of the talent agency from the anime and lets you watch the cast behind the scenes.” – Sony Head-Mounted Device Allows Users to Step Inside an Anime, ANN.
First off, the event this happened at was last year, it is not news-worthy in almost April of 2014. This just further proves the ‘click bait’ thing.
Secondly, and most importantly, this is not “stepping into an anime” as the article claims multiple times. Not only in the title, but throughout their post they state how you can step into the ANIME – not the game – the ANIME of Idolmaster. However, this is factually not true. Note the images, this is the video game engine from IM@S 2 and likely an early build of the up-and-coming new console IM@S title. This is not an anime, this is a video game. A video game with “anime styled art” is not an anime, it is still a game.
This is important to stress because there is a huge difference between VR with video games and VR with ANIME. Virtual Reality with games is not a big deal until it finally works well, but as of now most games can ‘support’ occulus rift and probably Morpheus (Sony’s VR headset), or can at least be made unofficially to do so. Video games are designed with a ‘player’ in mind, they are designed with you controlling the camera in mind, and they are simply a medium that lends itself to virtual reality. Anime, on the other hand, is like any television show or film or whatever else – it’s not something you can interact with because it was previously created and designed specifically to be viewed without any input whatsoever. There is no process going on as it plays, it just does and it’s all 100% completed before you ever see it without any changes possible during airing.
The idea that ANN gives you is that you can now watch an anime, as in a television series, and control the camera view and feel immersed as if you are a character within the show, they even outright say this is the case – giving the example of being a fan at an Idolmaster concert ‘in the anime’. That would be incredibly awesome and something I’d love to see some day – but it has absolutely nothing to do with what they are discussing in the article.
This is why I felt the need to make this post, because lots of people are misunderstanding due to ANN purposefully writing it as click-bait (if I hadn’t seen so many people being misled I wouldn’t have bothered writing this). VR is NOT something they are even attempting to implement into anime – every single thing about this is related to the IM@S VIDEO GAME FRANCHISE. NOT the anime, not ANY anime, but “anime styled video games”. So imagine Tales of Xillia with VR support. That is all this is. This is not “watch Kaiji with your Morpheus and you will feel as if you’re on the beam! If you look down you’ll see the street that Kaiji could fall to his death on at any moment!”. It is just ANOTHER game that supports, on some level, virtual reality headsets. NOT ANIME.
The only other thing this article has is also yet another VIDEO GAME with “anime styled art”, at least that one they admit is a fucking game.
As an aside, I find it odd they are working on VR support for IM@S games at all. Idolmaster is a game series that is almost entirely menus and LOADS OF TEXT with a somewhat poorly designed and very simple rhythm game tossed in from time to time (far from the focus though). This is easily one of the stupidest games to have VR support because it serves absolutely no purpose.