24 Mar 2015
VR Is Here, but Where Is It Going?
When I think of virtual reality, the first thing that comes to mind is those goofy 1980s style headsets with the gloves attached. As for “real” VR, I always thought of it as something that would happen in the future, you know, waaay in the future. About a year ago, I saw the movie The Transcendental Man, about the future of technology and the Singularity. For those that aren’t familiar, the singularity is the theory that machines with artificial intelligence will eventually merge with humans, forever changing how we live life on this planet. This got me thinking about how VR will be a part of this phenomenon.
Right now products such as the Oculus and Samsung Gear VR are changing the current landscape of VR. This frontier is just now becoming thoroughly explored, with games like Herobound and Technolust pushing the boundaries of what VR can do and what future developers can do with it.
With VR and the Singularity both on the horizon, it can only mean one thing, real-life .hack (dot hack). It seems to me that the further development of these types of VR games will eventually lead to people being plugged into an alternate reality, somewhat like the Matrix. The concept behind the .hack series for PS2 involves an MMORPG that serves as a complete VR experience, one which creates another plane of existence inside the digital world. Sooner or later many of the player’s bodies in the physical world have gone comatose and are stuck in the game. This terrifies me, not necessarily concept of being stuck in the game against your will, but the thought of being so infatuated with your digital life that you prefer it to your physical life.
I know some MMOs out there already have this going on. You know the guy who spends all of his waking hours playing WoW. Or the strange twenty nine year old, who for some reason still finds it necessary to spend all his nights and weekends playing Runescape (Come on man, Runescape? Really?).
Even though I don’t necessarily think this is completely healthy, I think it will be looked back on as casual compared to how hardcore VR games will be in the future. Think about it, when the technology to actually create a .hack-style game arrives, A LOT of people are going to play it. Based on how many people play WoW, I think it’s safe to assume that this future game will have a very large hardcore fan base. How often will people play daily? Will they still go to work every day? Will there professions in the game where you can do real work in order to play the game for free, and stay in the world all the time? If so, then what’s the difference between that and living in the material plane? (Sweeter gear probably)
So yeah, for me, learning about new developments in the VR field is both extremely exciting and insanely terrifying. That being said, when real-life .hack comes out, I’m probably going to play it.