The former co-host of popular tech site Tested launched a Kickstarter project today, seeking $20 from backers in exchange for the promise of a Steam or Oculus code granting access to the first season of his VR talk show.
The Foo Show is an interactive show created by Will Smith set inside virtual environments created by its guests. In other words, Smith will have software creators come on the show to talk about their work while immersed inside the world they made, whether it be from a videogame or VR app. The whole exchange is recorded and you can revisit their interview later as if it is happening live in front of you. According to the Kickstarter page, here’s the plan for that first season:
For the first season of the show, we’re producing five episodes. We’ll release the first episode on Oculus Home and Steam in December, a few weeks after this Kickstarter closes. And if you haven’t bought a VR headset yet, Kickstarter backers will be able to watch the first season using our experimental non-VR client. After that, you’ll get two episodes of The FOO Show every month, until we complete this first season.
You can check out a preview of The Foo Show on Rift or Vive for free via Steam or Oculus Home. The plan is to ultimately sell the episodes on Steam and Oculus Home. The crowdfunding effort was around 1/5 of the way toward its $50,000 goal at the time of this writing, with three weeks of fundraising left. In case you are still scratching your head, Will Smith is not the actor. He’s the bearded guy whose open-mouthed look of awe inside a VR headset development kit is so associated with VR’s wow factor. I reached out to him on Twitter to get some more information about his long term plan.
“Our episodes don’t cost a ton of money to produce, so we only need a few thousand people paying for them to make them self-sustaining. We’re using Kickstarter to bypass the slow growth part of any new show,” he said. “If the pilot succeeds on Kickstarter, it will have a built in community when it launches next month that will put it on the path to sustainability. In short, if we make something compelling, people will keep buying it, and we’ll keep making episodes. If they don’t, we’ll kill it and move on to the next thing.”
The Kickstarter page linked above is chock full of information, so I suggest checking it out. At the very bottom of the page is a bit that made me laugh regarding risks and challenges:
We are a small team of three people, so illness or injury of one of the core team members could delay production. While we’re each extremely careful, we do spend lots of time in VR. If one of us is killed while in virtual reality, that team member’s subsequent death in the real world would significantly impact our schedule.