VR is ON… and in a big way.
It is not surprising that the gaming industry is leading the innovation. And that it started as a grassroots initiative… If we’ve learned anything from the past, it is that the gaming community thrives on modding and tinkering. True to form, Oculus Rift was first developed by a gamer.
The real question is, will it become popular? Will it be a disruptive technology? Hard to say, but it is changing the way we consume media, that’s for sure.
CCP has been working on its own version, Valkyrie (a multiplayer dogfighting shooting game) set in the EVE universe (I tried it in EVE Vegas, it’s fantastic) and Linden Lab just announced that it too will be working on a next generation Second Life that includes VR technology.
In addition to gaming, film creators are quick to jump on the Rift-wagon. Private Eye is working on its psychological thriller based on Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Thriller and VR, the best combination since ARG and thriller… In fact, thriller goes well with everything, like that beige top you like to wear whenever you can’t find anything else clean in your closet.
It is true that content built using VR technologies currently does not have a killer app to make it go viral. So there is that…
But let’s drink the VR cool aid for a moment here… and fantasize.
Now that Facebook purchased it (or at least purchased one of the VR companies), it could possibly evolve into some form of communication platform other than be used exclusively for entertainment purposes. Zuckerberg did not buy a VR company and a drone company just to to expand his personal collection of companies. It could allow us to consume media together, similar to how Twitter is currently being used amongst television audiences. Television audiences watch and re-watch episodes of their favorite shows and comment via Twitter and respond to each other as they are watching them. Think how that would change with VR.
Or experience news on site with the anchor.
iPhone with its outrageous purchase price and unusual interface revolutionized the mobile phone industry. Nobody saw that coming. So too could Oculus Rift combine communication, entertainment, and gaming and package it as one unified experience.
Interactive TV could be the real deal, movies could offer a genuine immersive experience that you watch with your Facebook friends, you know, virtually, healthcare industry could change, training simulations can be something more than simulations.
It is already happening, all you have to do is to peek at the International Society for Presence Research’s site.
Let’s put the cool aid down.
Privacy? I’m glad you asked. Because that too will change (not disappear, just morph into something unrecognizable as businesses and digital rights activists negotiate).
I submit that the killer application of VR will likely be social networks as the technology becomes the data powerhouse of the future.
But first, let’s get this goggle a bit smaller. Dev guys, I’m talking to you!