Virtual Reality has quickly, over the past few years, become a very real reality and is no longer the reserve of the future. With the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on sale for PC gamers, and mobile virtual reality getting better each and every day, there's more buzz surrounding Virtual Reality than ever before. Oculus, as a company, is obviously not just interested in making sure that the Rift sells well, but also that Virtual Reality as a medium becomes popular and is loved by all. As we've seen in the past, with the early years of Pixar, Oculus and other studios have been creating short animated films to show off what Virtual Reality is capable of, and the short film "Henry" recently won Oculus their first Emmy award.
The short got the Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, which is a relatively new award that, as you guessed it, focuses on new and innovative content that users can feel a part of, rather than just something they sit back and watch without feeling involved in it. Henry is a film that Oculus put together with the help of Elijah's Wood voice to bring the titular Hedgehog to life. It's free to watch – although this comes with the tagline of "for a Limited Time" at the time of writing – and is a cute and fun story about a Hedgehog that loves hugs. The interactivity comes from the fact that, as a Virtual Reality short, users can look around the environment that the story is set in, and end up feeling like they are planted in the same room as Henry. Viewers can look down at Henry, giving the character scale, while they look up and around at other objects and can choose to see what else is going on or keep their focus on Henry.
Oculus is not the first name in Virtual Reality to try their hand at courting Hollywood, and they certainly won't be the last. Regardless, the fact that content like this has won an Emmy just goes to show that the world of Hollywood is starting to warm to the idea of Virtual Reality as a film medium. During IFA 2016, we saw IMAX partner with Acer and Starbreeze VR, to help raise awareness and further the immersion that a great story can offer viewers.