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Is VR really the future?
5 min read
I don't know if you have been living under a rock the past year but if not then you've certainly seen Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, & the like everywhere.
Or maybe you caught that 'Meta' unveiling video that may have put a weird feeling in the pit of your stomach as it did mine.
Obvious discrepancies about Facebooks' privacy 'mishaps' aside, the current state of VR is basically just a gaming scene. I think we all know that Zuck would love nothing more than to turn VR into a real-life version of Ready Player One but currently, we're at something that's a lot more like the Wii than anything else.
As a kid I loved video games. I was there for the Playstation 2, Xbox 360 and PS4 era. I'll never forget when my dad brought home a Wii that he won at work. It was a totally different experience than any of the other gaming systems I had tried before. It was kind of like getting to bring a night at Dave & Buster's back home with you (those still exist right?).
I slowly lost interest in gaming during high school and for the last few years I have been completely removed from the world of gaming. That was until I saw how easy it has became to dabble in VR with an Oculus Quest 2. I was immediately brought back to that Wii feeling of nostalgia & wasting my time or not, I had to try one of these bad boys out for myself.
First off, the price. I mean $300 in 2021? That's like $50 in 2008 money. It's too cheap not to try out and I can imagine that children all over the country will be unwrapping their brand new headset on Christmas morning this year.
Second of all, the games. There's a lot more to choose from than I would've thought. With all the hype surrounding VR right now, we can imagine that the content is really going to explode. Not to mention just going back and remaking all the games people have loved over the years in virtual reality as well. The possibilities are endless.
Jump forward to now, after using it and getting over the honeymoon phase of our relationship, the reality of VR sets in. Just like the Wii, it's great to pick up when you're bored but I really can't see how this is going to appeal to as wide an audience as Zuckerberg & co. would like it to. As someone who's really never experienced any motion sickness while gaming, I was actually a little nauseous trying to get used to this thing. I bet if I got either of my parents to put it on it would come off within the first 30 seconds. Spending more than 2-3 hours on the thing makes my eyes strained. I could not imagine having to live in the digital hell some of the Tech oligarchs dream of that would force pretty much every aspect of society to be conducted through one of these things.
I remember how social media affected my childhood & teenage years (I was born in 2000 for reference). Depression, suicide & isolation rates extremely high (obviously magnified even more post 2020), people interacting with each other in real life less & less, online dating, online porn, & online everything just added on top of all the social pressures teenagers already go through. Now imagine this dystopian mess in a pair of goggles that make you nauseous after 10 minutes. Sounds great doesn't it! Remember how you felt when you saw a kid walking around in his new Air Jordan sweatshirt in middle school? Now you would be jealous that they have a new NFT for their 'home' space.
You can already see that the powers at be are working faster than ever to throw us into this lifestyle whether we want it or not. Spending 40-60% of our time online just isn't enough I guess, better go for the full 100%. Sadly I think a lot of these people would love nothing more than to have the rest of the world so broken that you'd be begging to put those goggles on just to escape the dystopia for a couple of hours. Seeing one of those robot dogs with a gun strapped to the top of it already makes me feel nauseous, mine as well just put the goggles on and crawl back into my cave.
This whole idea brings forth a lot of questions for humanity. What is it that makes us human? At what point do we become cyborgs? What does all this do to our brain chemistry? And on and on and on.
But hey, let's just enjoy the current times and not worry about the future. The current state of Virtual Reality is on par with what the Wii was in the 2000's. Cool for what it is, but I have a hard time believing your average person can wear one of these for more than a couple hours every now and then. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm not, either way it's just my opinion on the matter.
If one of your buddies has a headset or you have an extra $300 burning a whole in your pocket test it out for yourself. It's got some things that are undeniably cool. It certainly makes for more scary experiences than I've ever had watching a movie at home. For that reason alone it's cool to have a headset.
Looking at the bigger picture, I certainly don't want to hand off a world to my children that chooses to replace the majority of human interactions with interactions in the 'metaverse'. It has it's place but I've seen the Matrix enough times to know this may not play out as the best case scenario.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed my little rant. Have a good day where ever you are.