Brutal: CCP pulled out of VR game development because the reception was “even below our lowest expectations.”
I’m still long-term bullish on VR, but it seems like there are several big problems to solve, one of them being the friction of just starting a game, something echoed in the interview: “The ceremony of putting on a VR headset; I often liken it to putting on scuba gear to go diving. Scuba diving is an amazing experience, but it’s a lot of gear to put on, and when you have it on it’s isolating, disorienting.”
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Having tried VR 20 years ago when it was elves broadcast into a large black bin container cage, 10 years ago when you could walk into a room projected 6 ways, and more recently with much more responsive graphics, I think the isolation, the feeling of being removed from the real world while *knowing* it’s there, is a huge problem, and possibly underestimated although I don’t know the literature. Not at a physical level, but a cognitive one – at least with scuba diving, you know you’re not both underwater and on land at the same time. It’s most disconcerting with VR when the landscape is a social one though – the people physically next to you cannot see the virtual world, and vice versa. The experience feels indulgent, because you cannot share it. You have to wait your turn.
That said, there are probably ways to move the VR experience towards one extreme or the other. Projections at a space level, eg a room you walk into, could allow multiple people to share the same experience easily. Or, to make it a more individual experience, VR could become more of a curated, guided experience, as CiRCA69 did with The Cube recently. A trusted environment that means you can switch off the real world. A contract with the experience.
Neither of these are the mainstream that capitalist tech loves to profit from. The alternative ending under this paradigm seems to be more akin to 3D TV, and the booming mainstream success that this has (yet to) become.
There’s been a lot of work done on sharing the player’s view of the VR world on a screen or TV – the PSVR does this. I still think it’s a bit boring though.