Social Implications of VR

This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Daan Kortenbach 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • #2916

    Garret Bullard
    Participant

    There will come a point in time when VR will seem as real as the world we live in now and it will create some interesting issues for gamers. What happens when we prefer the simulated world to reality? Is it a bad thing to spend 3 days in a virtual environment? These are the kind of things I would like discussed here. Go.

    #2921

    Ben Lang
    Keymaster

    There will be people who think it’s unatural or inherently bad to prefer a virtual world over the real world, but as with any new technology I think it’ll come down to how we use it. Can we blame someone if they want to live in a virtual world that makes them more happy than the real world?

    What I’m still trying to figure out is whether or not we’ll feel any desire to live in a virtual world with no restrictions.

    It seems to me that, in real life, people are so distracted by their day to day activities that they can easily hide away from foundational questions like ‘why am I even doing what I’m doing?’. In a virtual world where you don’t have to empty the garbage, go to work, earn money for pay the bills, etc — will there be any compelling reasons to even play? It seems to me like structure is actually necessary to derive any enjoyment from an experience. You need the boring monotonous experiences to set the bar for what it means to have fun.

    I always fall back to the Minecraft example. You can go right now and play Minecraft in creative mode for free. But it get’s boring quickly because you don’t have to work for anything. As wild as it sounds, people actually pay to get access to the survival portion of the game which imposes restrictions — you have to feed yourself, gather your own resources, and survive against monsters in the night — and it’s way more fun than having unlimited health, unlimited resources, and no threats.

    #2971

    John Frange
    Participant

    This is an interesting question. I think Ben addresses it adequately, but to throw in my $.02 I do think it will become a concern someday (as in, some people will do it, and some people will make a stink about it. Pew!). It will probably be the same as playing video games now for three days strait: You’ll smell like poo and you’ll be famished.

    I think there might also be a positive light to spending 3 days in VR. I’m thinking of a friend of mine once did a sense experiment in which he wore a bandana over his eyes for two days. He couldn’t see anything, but when he took it off it everything he could see became far richer in color and detail than before the experiment. Obviously nothing had changed on the outside world, but for him seeing became something novel.

    I am wondering if this will occur with VR, and to what extent. What happens when you spend 24 hours in a simulated world, with weaker colors, imperfectly drawn shapes/objects, and limited movement (all in comparison to reality) and then you come out of it? It has the potential to tally enrich our everyday perception of reality.

    I’m also wondering what happens when you hook a baby up to VR and then raise it like a normal person except for the fact that they perceive VR as their own reality. Then when they’re a mature adult (educated, self-aware, etc) you rip off the RIFT and throw them a real party.

    #3003

    PoopsauceMcGeezax
    Participant

    Frange brings up an interesting point. I think that people will appreciate real life more than virtual reality because it gives real life a whole new credibility. If some people just play to be absorbed in a new reality, is that any different from people who spend all their time playing video games nowadays? I think the best benefits of VR will be reaped by casual gamers who want to have a more realistic gaming experience. Also, there are a lot of benefits to professionals like doctors and pilots, who can use VR as a training systems. Focusing on people who want to escape reality doesn’t change the fact that there are those people who do that already with modern technology.

    #3004

    Paul James
    Keymaster

    I think it’s different from playing videogames purely because the potential for total absorption and disconnection is there. And with that, the temptation to accept any new reality and adopt is as your preferred one. I’m sure all of us have wanted to shut out the world and build our own at certain points in our lives?

    Of course, this has been explored Ad nauseum by famous authors and thinkers alike (I’m sure I needn’t name them), but the possibility of theses lines between realities being ever more blurred really have taken a quantum leap forward with the prospect of the Rift and Project Holodeck.

    Finally, commentary on the impact of internetworking and the fall of facetime (real not IOS based) has always been rife. Imagine a world where it became socially acceptable never to have to bother actually meeting people in real life. The impact on society would absolute.

    Anyway, enough Dystopian future visions for one day, I’ve got VR dreams to live out – gimme my Rift now!!

    #3009

    Andreas
    Participant

    Uhoh this discussion turned interesting quickly. I’d say it can probably not get that much worse than someone (really) hooked on a MMORPG today, speaking from personal experience. The only difference will be that you cannot see your filthy desk, the neglect to personal hygiene, food and sleep will probably be similar :P The disconnect from the real world will probably be greater, but it is already quite tangible.

    What I’m more interested in is… how real will social interactions in VR feel? Will we at some point get a Metaverse or Oasis, a meaningful virtual reality where real education, transactions, earning and socializing will take place? Personally I think the real limit is at content creation. No matter how fast computers will get, unless everything is procedural, things will have to be designed, which will take time and money.

    Going off on a tangent here, my head is spinning too fast to slow down. Imagine a continuation of what VRML once promised, websites represented in 3D that interconnect in a meaningful way. I do some weird illusionary artwork (like the logo to this website… !) and I’d love to host my own gallery for people to visit, with a corridor of doors to related sites… is this an old dream? Navigating sites like individual rooms/buildings, with portals in between. Of course, search have to be part of it, to find unconnected sites, but probably as a console command/HUD system.. I’m rambling, shut up me!

    #3011

    Paul James
    Keymaster

    Andreas wins! He managed to use the word ‘Metaverse’ into a post and get away with it! :)

    Your point RE content creation is already a problem. Imagining, planning, drawing and realising the virtual worlds we now demand at the fidelity we expect is becoming every more cost prohibitive.

    So, if you think about it, wouldn’t the logical solution to extend what we do in real life into the digital world? For example, I can’t build a house, make dishes or construct furniture, there are businesses out there who do it for me. So, why not in the digital realm? Entire businesses devoted to churning out the building blocks of a Virtual Reality which designers buy wholesale to construct their universes with.

    It’s actually the only way, outside of procedural generation I could see that ever working. And, when the economy slews so far towards creating virtual things …. and we’re back to Dystopia again. …

    So, the conclusion I’m rapidly coming to here is that VR is the death of civilisation as we know it! :D

    #3050

    Ben Lang
    Keymaster

    Going off on a tangent here, my head is spinning too fast to slow down. Imagine a continuation of what VRML once promised, websites represented in 3D that interconnect in a meaningful way. I do some weird illusionary artwork (like the logo to this website… !) and I’d love to host my own gallery for people to visit, with a corridor of doors to related sites… is this an old dream? Navigating sites like individual rooms/buildings, with portals in between. Of course, search have to be part of it, to find unconnected sites, but probably as a console command/HUD system.. I’m rambling, shut up me!

    I have to say, it would be really cool if I were floating above the page and then when I clicked on a link I flew down into it and popped out somewhere else!

    I do think it is a mistake to make such skeuomorphic design decisions (ie: turn websites into rooms and hallways); there’s room for it to be more abstract and less based on the restrictions of reality, and thus be more effective means of browsing sites/stores/galleries, etc.

    #3051

    Andreas
    Participant

    I do think it is a mistake to make such skeuomorphic design decisions (ie: turn websites into rooms and hallways); there’s room for it to be more abstract and less based on the restrictions of reality, and thus be more effective means of browsing sites/stores/galleries, etc.

    I’m not so sure :P If you think about it from a usability point of view the users should not be alienated, instead the interface should be made up of familiar features, concepts known to them from earlier experience.

    Sure, old and outdated elements feels annoying, but if it’s a convention to use them you are better of doing it. One nice example is the save icon, it is in many cases still a floppy disk, even though many younger people might never have seen one, hahaha.

    So yeah, an abstract, five-dimensional, free-flight world might be more interesting and able to present information with more advanced structures in a dense manner, question is how many will then actually use it :3

    #3052

    Daan Kortenbach
    Keymaster

    I have to disagree on the skeuomorphism Ben mentions. We tend to have a built-in feeling for beauty, the golden rule (PI, Fibonacci), wide open plains with groups of trees (in the wild, but hey hey, what do parks look like?), etcetera. It’s genetic, built-in esthetic preference. We like what we know and we don’t really like to learn new things. That is exactly why the touch interface just works, it’s intuitive and easy to learn.

    The part on skeuomorphic mistakes I agree on is the part that we shouldn’t copy the real world 1on1. For instance, walking two miles to get to some point of interest doesn’t make sense and is boring (unless the area in between is truly amazing). What does make sense is teleporting by clicking where you want to go (like in cloudparty.com) or some sort of HUD, nav-watch, etc. Don’t know if you have seen this one but I really like the concept: spacegoo.com. I would make it look less sucky and 90′s but the concept of standing in a sphere with objects as navigation is pretty cool! Combine real world familiarities with new ways of communicating and navigating that makes sense in VR will do the trick, IMHO.

    As for converting whole websites to a VR “game level”, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I have come to the conclusion that searching for information, consuming content (text, video, audio) is best done while not moving around as the latter just distracts from the task at hand. How about some awesome James Bond building on top of a mountain with a great view, you are on a terrace flicking through some virtual floating pages. Maybe play a video (it could even be an immersive 3D VR video).

    Thinking in environments, or instances, will give website owners (and brands) a way to create an experience targeted at their users. Blogging about beach clubs? Deliver a beach environment, with some relaxing tunes coming from a hip bar nearby, so your readers can consume your content in the perfect setting.

    Just my 2ct on the matter ;)

    And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. vrappstore.com
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