Peter Freeby

@peterfreeby

Why VR Can’t Win (yet)

VR is quickly becoming a cornerstone in the high end gaming market. Facebook’s new 360 degree camera released at F8 at innumerable VR related lists on Product Hunt prove how much of a dream tool it is for designers and developers. But there’s a fundamental problem that hasn’t really been solved yet.

None of the new tech has really come close to solving the social problem with VR. The video of the kid riding a roller coaster with an Oculus Rift on and absolutely collapsing when a friend pushes him a little bit is both hilarious and telling of this problem. No matter how realistic VR is, there is still real reality with real people surrounding you in a way that is impossible to ignore.

VR has come a long way. Nobody really talks about absurdly expensive “3D” tv’s from Samsung. Red+blue glasses haven’t been used in at least a decade. Google Cardboard is cheap or free more often than not.

But after getting a free Cardboard in the mail from my NYTimes subscription and watching a few of their videos, I stopped using it. The films the Times made are phenomenal, but by their format and to their detriment, they exclude everything else around me, decontextualizing their content.

If Oculus and other developers can figure out how to make their products social and cooperative in more ways than just online gaming, they’ll finally be able to solve the problem of VR.

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