Friday, May 13, 2016

VR causes religious fervor in people

When watching YouTube videos about the new VR headsets, especially the Vive, I have sometimes commented, and responded to other people's comments, with some skepticism about the possibilities and future of VR, as I have done in this blog. I essentially say that while yes, the tech demo experience may be awesome, I have my doubts about what kinds of games can really be implemented, especially for "room-scale VR". (Room-scale VR has severe limitations that really restrict what kind of games you can make for it.) I often ask people how many 50-hour big-budget triple-A games they really think will be made for room-scale VR, and what kind of future it can have, if it has a poor triple-A game library.

Almost invariably many people respond to it with what could effectively be called religious drivel. Rather than addressing what I wrote, or answering my questions, they often instead go on and on rambling about how "awesome" the room-scale VR feels. Many count how many friends and family members have found it "awesome". They go on and on about how you have to experience it yourself to "understand" it. They really sound like they have had a religious experience that can't be described.

Rather than, you know, actually addressing my skepticism and what I actually said.

The fact is that it doesn't really matter how much of a religious experience VR may give you. That doesn't somehow magically produce a wealthy library of triple-A games, nor prolong the longevity of the system. If there are no games for it, it will simply be an expensive tech-demo peripheral. Many similar devices (such as traditional video games consoles, and peripherals like the Kinect) have failed because of a lack of a triple-A game library.

But somehow it seems impossible to have an actual conversation with these people. It feels almost exactly like having a conversation with a young earth creationist, or a devout scientologist.

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