Could the Future of VR Be Social?
When people talk about the future of VR, few have quite the imagination necessary to imagine what such a dynamic platform could bring us.
That’s because a lot of us think “video games” when we hear about VR, but there are a couple of entrepreneurs out there trying to change that notion.
Specifically, some people think that one of the biggest areas of growth for the future of VR could be in social platforms – that is, in helping people interact and collaborate with one another.
And, if you think about it, that’s really not that far fetched.
After all, using VR’s much more immersive format, relatives will be able to have more interactive communication with each other and collaborative teams can bridge the gaps caused by distance using a VR platform.
Research conducted by Greenlight Insights says that over 70% of respondents would like to us VR to interact with people on a more intimate level. In fact, Verizon draws a comparison between the hype surrounding video games for VR and the explosion of social apps like AltspaceVR, vTime, High Fidelity, VRChat, and Rec Room.
The number – and popularity – of such apps indicates that there is a definite market demand for them.
What’s even more interesting is how each community caters to a specific niche or market.
One of the more successful VR social apps out there is High Fidelity, brought to us by the creator of popular life-simulator Second Life.
This app incorporates everything from vast customization options to an in-game cryptocurrency.
Alexis Macklin of Greenlight Insights has some idea about why these apps are exploding in popularity, and that is because “VR collapses the distance and is even more personal than Facetime or Skype. In VR, you can bring people together to play a board game, or I can use Bigscreen VR to watch TV with my mom a thousand miles away.”
Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do author and Director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Jeremy Bailenson, believes that social VR will be the “killer app” that provides virtual reality with the breakthrough it needs to reach mainstream success: “People often ask me what the ‘killer app’ of augmented and virtual reality will be. My answer is people. Virtual reality is going to become a must-have technology when you can beam yourself and others over the network, and simply talk and interact with other people in a virtual space in a way that feels utterly, unspectacularly normal.”
There’s little reason to doubt these predictions. Given that one of the best-selling PC games of all time, The Sims, basically simulates life, we can imagine a VR game that incorporates the most compelling aspects of that experience will have quite a market indeed.