Some VR thoughts…

So, my last post was definitely reactionary. Though at this moment I have not went back to read over it so I’m not entirely sure what my feelings were at the time. But as for now, I have still not cancelled my DK2 preorder, and it is now July, the month when it is supposed to ship out.

My thoughts on the Facebook acquisition now go something like this: I think it’s good for VR, but ultimately bad for Oculus in the long term. Facebook is no less creepy, and I still think they will do bad things if they have access to retina or iris identifying information through a HMD. Or even if they only get gaze tracking. Facebook has not shown discipline when it comes to handling a large amount of personal and private information, so I don’t expect that pattern to reverse itself.

I am also disappointed with the way that the VR community (particularly in the oculus subreddit) has finally joined the rest of the internet in consisting primarily of entitled morons and assholes. I may be excited about the concept of VR, but I maintain a healthy skepticism about the reality of it. Oculus has a lot of challenges ahead of it.

They still don’t have a good input solution, for one. And it’s impossible to say what the level of VR that a general public will accept or consider valuable enough to overcome the dorkiness will be. Is a 1440p screen enough. Is a seated experience enough? Is a gamepad enough?

Certainly for a small audience of enthusiastic and hopeful techy people, we can put up with a device with a lot of shortcomings. I mean, we’re willing to dismiss when a device makes us physically ill, for Christ’s sake!

But we are not normal people. We are dedicated and frankly, at this point, a lot of us are crazy. We believe so strongly in an idea, that some of us can’t stand the possibility of disillusionment. We don’t want our bubbles burst.

So what is VR going to be? Not the holo deck, and not the matrix. At least not anytime soon. Instead it’s at least going to be a box you strap to your head that some people think is too heavy and too low resolution, and too expensive, and whatever else.

If that’s all it is, then it won’t succeed. But the jury is out on what Oculus will bring to the table as far as a consumer product, and what ultimately will be enough to satisfy a general public.

Even still, it’s not satisfaction that counts for mainstream success. It’s not novelty. It’s applicability. It’s utility. The average person needs to see how it is too difficult to live WITHOUT VR in order to convince them to live with it. So it needs to have practical applications that outweigh any downsides.

And there will be downsides. It will either still make people sick sometimes, or the resolution will still be impractically low, or the tracking will be a bit…unreliable. Or something. Nothing is perfect, especially when it has to be designed as a one size fits all device.

So this is all a bit ranty, as it’s quite early in the morning at this point. But I felt it would be worth while to follow up on my last post about VR with some of my later thoughts. Still haven’t even tried VR, so it’s just musing anyways.