Could VR Make People Isolated?
What if someone told you that “fake” would become the new “real”? You would probably be a bit worried by that.
Kids have had imaginary friends for a long time and some parents accept it, while others become worried and bring their kid to see a psychologist. Some people even thought that having an imaginary friend was a part of growing up and there’s nothing wrong with it. However you may feel, virtual reality developers have made making “fake” feel “real” as their business. Virtual reality is set to reach many different industries.
Oculus and HTC are some of the companies who have now released VR headsets for the public via the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Even though relatively speaking, there isn’t a ton of content out yet, there is still a good amount of content that’s available.
You can put on a VR headset and head on to outer space or be amongst sharks among many other options. Crytek, a VR studio recently released a rock climbing game that’s available on the Oculus Rift. People who have a fear of heights have really enjoyed the game. Well, maybe enjoyed isn’t the best word, but many people scared of heights have been very engaged in the game. These types of VR experiences that are adrenaline fueled, can get people really focused on the experience and potentially not want to leave the VR experience as they’re so “into it”.
Anna Chung, a business person who lives in Singapore, said, “ If I own a virtual reality kit, I feel I might end up spending less time with friends. The extent of my meeting them have decreased after I got addicted to Facebook and Whatsapp. These days, we just message and have fun in the ‘comments’ section. So I can say that, after VR takes over, at least in my case, there will be less number of face-to-face meetings. I would rather spend time exploring a new VR world or playing an immersive game rather than clicking selfies with my friends. We meet friends to have fun. If virtual reality could offer the same, I would certainly prioritize that.”
Shigeru Miyamoto is a Nintendo video game developer who helped to create Star Fox, Donkey Kong and many other well known games. In regards to virtual reality, he said, “When you think about what virtual reality is, which is one person putting on some goggles and playing by themselves kind of over in a corner, or maybe they go into a separate room and they spend all their time alone playing in that virtual reality, that’s in direct contrast with what it is we’re trying to achieve with Wii U. And so I have a little bit of uneasiness with whether or not that’s the best way for people to play.” Jeff Rayner, the Founder & CEO of MyPad3D.com said, “From a business perspective, you could save thousands of dollars by attending virtual conferences. People from all over the world will no longer need to fly, stay in hotels and eat at fancy restaurants. Instead, from their home offices they simply put on their virtual reality goggles that are linked to a real time feed and they are at that conference in Vegas, where they can explore and interact with people just as if they where there. The movie business and particularly the adult entertainment industry will of course blossom, as you will be able to ‘experience’ personal view points that immerse you into the location. The travel industry could be revolutionized too. Instead of flying over to Florida, you could enter a special environment room, put on a ‘feeling suit’, wear your goggles and voila, you are transported to anywhere instantly, and just as importantly potentially any time. i.e. You could have breakfast with the dinosaurs and then have lunch on Mars while having a conversation with a virtual AI Albert Einstein.”
Another perspective comes from Lydia Li, a student from the Philippines. She said, “Traveling the world is an expensive affair. Rather than save money and travel to one country, I would use less than half of the money to buy a VR kit and purchase a rich around-the-world visual experience. It may not be as good as real. But I am sure VR innovators will come up with something to make it more real.”
There are many companies who are optimistic about where virtual reality is headed. HTC even predicted recently that virtual reality sales will be higher than smartphone sales across the world in just a couple of years from now.