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December 21, 2017

Virtual Reality (VR) is the Next Big Medium for Comic Books

Ved Pitre VU Dream

Ved Pitre, VR & AR Writer

Virtual reality has shown promise in revolutionizing industries like medicine and education. Recently, VR has been at the forefront of great developments in the comic book industry.
 
Comic books have been the same since they were first published. There has not been a massive change of the way comics are consumed.
 
Many companies have been trying to find innovative new ways to bring comic book stories to life in virtual reality. Here is a compilation of the 4 best VR comic applications.
 
We are currently writing this at the end of 2017. Expect new competitors and entrants in the market in 2018 and onward.
Madefire Comics VR

Madefire

Madefire is one of the most prominent companies trying to achieve comics in VR. They already have an established motion comics app available for mobile phones. With the emergence of VR, Madefire is now attempted to move that idea over to VR headsets.

The two main factors that make this experience amazing are motions and sounds. When you view the comic, every individual panel shows short animations of the scenes. Also at key moments, the comic will play sounds such as gunfire or screaming to increase the immersion.

Madefire has partnerships with both Marvel and Magic Leap. They publish Marvel motion comics on their mobile platforms. With Magic Leap, they will be releasing an AR version of the app with Magic Leap’s headset.

Madefire has the most potential out of all the applications on this list. They already have several partnerships which will help them rise in popularity.

 

Available for Oculus, iOS, Android and Microsoft

Project Hikari by Square Enix

Project Hikari by Square Enix

Project Hikari is a VR experience focused on bringing manga to life. It is compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The experience is unique compared to the other VR comic apps.

The visuals bring the 2D world of manga into a 3D environment. Just like manga, all the artwork is still in black and white. With black and white visuals, it keeps the authenticity of reading manga.

During the experience, you are able to interact with the environment around you. This creates more of an intimate experience than simply reading a manga.

Unfortunately, there is no consumer product out at the current moment. The experience has only been demoed at tech conferences. However, we do know that it will be released in 2018 and will be available for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Magnetique VR

Magnetique VR

Magnetique is unique to all the other comic applications on this list. The user is placed as a first-person character in the comic book. Magnetique VR is one of the first storytelling apps that give its users 360-degree vision.

Rather than showing panels from the comic, you are placed in the middle of the story. All the action occurs around the user.

Artwork for the environments and characters is designed beautifully. Just like Madefire, there is audio during particular moments which helps increase the immersion factor.

Magnetique VR is currently only available for the Gear VR. But in the future, it could be released onto more platform.

Mixed Reality Comics

Mixed Reality Comics is still in its early stages of development. However, they have released teasers that show what the final product could look like.

 

Mixed Reality Comics presents the story to the audience differently than Madefire or Project Hikari. Instead of 2D artwork, there are 3D characters and environments. It looks like a mixture between comic books and Pixar movies.

Mixed Reality Comics is doing something really cool where they are making the app available for both AR and VR. This allows the app to operate on several different platforms. In fact, it will be available for all current AR and VR systems.

Available on:

  • Google Daydream
  • Google Cardboard
  • PlayStation VR
  • Samsung Gear VR
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Microsoft HoloLens
  • Meta 2 AR Headset

There is still time before a final product will be released. However, there is a lot of potential for this app and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Conclusion

Check back on this page frequently for updates and additions.

Rec Room by Against Gravity is one of the most fun VR games!

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