Ready, Player One? Prediction #6

I’m on a journey to make 30 predictions in 30 days – and strengthen my decision making abilities in the process. Join me on the journey by shooting me an email with your thoughts and predictions.

My first experience with virtual reality was when I got a Nintendo Virtual Boy. I vividly remember being a young kid – probably 11 years old –, sitting down wearing this headgear contraption in which all I could see were red images that looked 3D. As a gaming console, Virtual Boy failed to make a major splash with broader audiences, and as a result not many games were made. By the late 1990s, it had lost its momentum. It wasn’t virtual reality - it was only slightly better than a Game Boy and significantly more expensive… and well, it was just red.

Flash forward to 2016. I recently read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (2012), a sci-fi novel set in the not too distant future where people log into a virtual world, called OASIS. In the world, they do everything:date, attend school, experience a virtual game, and explore the depths of the world. After I read this, I had a new take on the whole virtual reality movement going on. 

This was the future. Our world is ready for the next thing beyond the internet.

Prediction: Virtual Reality will start to find its moment by the end of the year - the next biggest thing since the internet - get ready, player one! 

Oculus Rift, which was purchased by Facebook on July 22, 2014 for $2 Billion, is probably the most talked about virtual reality console hitting the markets today. Facebook announced their retail debut of Oculus Rift for March 2016 and when I first heard they were taking pre-orders, I was there to sign up. 

I felt like I was 11 again, ready for a new toy, even though Oculus and the VR movement is focused on a slightly different targets than just merely playing games. It’s both an evolution and a metamorphosis of the gaming world and internet.

For Facebook, this is a brilliant move; they are the only platform that can really take VR beyond gaming. After reading Ready Player One, I started to look at the opportunity for VR in a completely new light  as there were endless opportunities to make the world more interactive and available to everyone. Facebook is probably one of the best companies to make VR a reality - they have the social network, the smarts, and they need VR as the next frontier for their platform. Not to say there won’t be others that do it well - but Facebook has an advantage, as they already have the connected world at their fingertips.

What if you could connect your group of friends into a virtual living room? Let me make that clearer, what if you could take your Facebook friends to a virtual living room and connect with them instead of commenting on their news feed. 

Or maybe you want to stop looking at your best friend’s travel pictures and actually join them on their vacation just to get away for a few minutes? 

VR is much more than the future. VR will be a major technological and cultural leap for everyone, not just the gamers. While gaming hasn’t really evolved for a long time (note: VR WILL take gaming to a new level), gaming just scratches the surface on how we will all be logging into the new internet - an internet that exists within virtual reality.