Today, I joined 87,520 people to log on to the live announcement of the Oculus Riff Virtual Reality product launch. I am not a RPG (role playing gamer) or even any type of video gamer if I am honest. But the announcement of this product is as exciting to me as a futurist as the launch of the Apple Tablet or the Apple iPhone – both of which changed the game culturally and financially for how work will get done in the future.
On August 12, 2012, 2012, Palmer Luckey and a band of developers launched their project on Kickstarter. Within days, Oculus Riff surpassed their goals, and would go on to get the support of 9,522 supporters who pledge a whopping $2,437,429 to fund the project. And then, in March of last year, Facebook announced they were purchasing Oculus for two billion dollars.
Mark Zuckerberg in his announcement said, “…we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences. This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”
“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home. This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
And so today, a year later, Facebook’s Oculus Riff announced the design of their new product, their strategy, the product availability launch date of Q1, 2016 – and an insight into how people will start to use their virtual reality product.
It will begin with games. Early adopters will play games. But soon, everyone will be trying it – and hundreds – no tens of thousands will begin to imagine the application of what can happen with virtual reality.
You will be able to become a world traveler without ever leaving your chair. You will be able to go to virtual conventions, trade shows and meetings. You will enter into virtual communities with friends and strangers alike. You will step into virtual shopping malls and go shopping – looking at clothing, trying them on and then purchasing. All from your tablet. Oculus promises you the chance to “experience anything, anywhere. This is the beginning of VR gaming. It will deliver the magic of presence. Your brain will flip this switch. You will have to remind your brain that this is not real.”
And already – developers are branching out to prepare for a variety of uses and applications.
Toyota has committed to developing a driving simulator for teens to learn how to drive. (More here: http://www.slashgear.com/toyota-oculus-bringing-vr-driving-simulator-for-teens-14364517/) The British Army has finished a design to use Oculus Riff for recruitment. They invite individuals to use the device to feel a simulation for what it is like to drive a tank. (More here: http://www.slashgear.com/british-army-uses-oculus-rift-for-recruitment-with-virtual-tank-17365087/
This product will spawn hundreds of games, application. And it will spur huge new sales in peripherals and products. Where the Millennials grew up with a mobile phone in their hand, half of Generation Z (born after 2000) and more interestingly, the generation after that, will have whole new meanings for experiential gaming, learning and reality.
This is huge. And for the next 18 months, I will incorporate the exploration and possibilities into my presentations about the Future Workplace and the potential impact of virtual reality.
Below is additional information:
- 10 Important observation about Virtual Reality
- Links to learn more
- Items that will lead to more discussion
10 IMPORTANT OBSERVATIONS
FACEBOOK vs GOOGLE vs APPLE: Oculus Riff strengthens the apparent battle between these three large technology companies. Facebook gets a leg up until Google’s Glass product comes to market. But you can be sure Apple won’t sit back and not enter this game at some point. And what about Microsoft? Today in the announcement, Facebook brought Microsoft and representatives from Xbox onto the stage as part of the announcement. That demonstrated the beginning of a drawn line.
IMAGES and LOGOS are important. Get ready to see a new image everywhere. The Oculus Riff logo will become as bold as the apple logo.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO PALMER LUCKEY? The co-founder of O.R. has turned over the company to an expansive set of leaders. And now, he seems to be focused on “the controller.” Oculus Riff also introduced the future of controllers – one that will make us look back at the Xbox controller and make it feel as ancient as Atari or Nintendo. Take a look at what they will look like in the future:
NEW LANGUAGE, MEANINGS and CULTURE
The very nature of virtual reality demands that we create whole new words and ideas to explore that world. This means we will very quickly have entire new words in our vocabulary. They will not only have specific meaning to virtual reality – but also to everyday life. Here are a few words and phrases that are foreign to most today – but will be important in the future. These are phrases to learn and know.
- Riff (will you step into the riff?)
- Asynchronous timewarp (ATW)
- VR Gear
- Motion lag
- Immersive experience
- Presence (achieving presence, the magic of presence, hand presence). Virtual reality promises to “It will deliver the magic of presence. Your brain will flip this switch. You will have to remind your brain that this is not real.”
- Constellation tracking
- Atmospheric RPG
- Low mental load
- The uncanny valley (keeping it far enough away from realisim to make it believable)
- Stepping through a window vs stepping up to a window
ETHICS and NEURO PSYCOLOGY is about to become very interesting. The goal of virtual reality is to “trick the brain, eyes and ears.” This will create great learning and debate over the science and ethics of what could happen. We will also ask ourselves if we really know what is real. Michael Abrash, Chief programmer for Oculus VR says, “Reality is what our brain reconstructs it to be. Our experience of the world is an illusion.” He gave this definition:
HENRY and HEDGEHOGS are about to become a MEME in the virtual reality world. Want to know why?
Watch this video and see the possibilities. Meet Henry – and see how he will become the new face of virtual reality to millions of children: https://vimeo.com/129497938. And learn more about Oculus story telling here: https://www1.oculus.com/storystudio/henry/#video-section
ANOTHER CHILDHOOD DREAM REALIZED. The iPhone and now the iWatch has been often described as arrival of reality from many developers who watched Startrek and dreamed of communicators and tablets. This realization of movie to reality continues with virtual reality. Michael Abrash, Chief Programmer for Oculus VR, spoke recently about what virtual reality was, and what it’ll be to you in the near future. He made a point to mention Ready Player One and Snow Crash as inspirations to him for the beginnings of Virtual Reality. He also made mention of The Matrix – his one, true inspiration for the way Virtual Reality can be interpreted as. “If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see,” he said, quoting Morpheus, “then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
WHAT ARE USERS SAYING ABOUT OCULUS RIFF? Here are first users and their description of their experience after trying on virtual reality and then thinking about the possibilities:
Espiritu: “Ultimately I would love to have one of these for a myriad of reasons, some professional some personal and some academic. Firstly it would be a great boon for my business, People come in looking for info on the hottest new stuff constantly and being able to demonstrate would be amazing, just hook up some nice little demo taking advantage of all of the devices capabilities and let-er-rip. As for personal, Games would be amazing with this. A few mods slapped on to skyrim and you have yourself another 600,000 hours of entertainment, Play a game like Star Citizen and you will have complete immersion if you pair it with a flight deck. Hell, this would make the movie “Hardcore” amazing, maybe even prompting more studios to embrace first person or otherwise VR friendly media.
As for the academic purposes, I like to work on software and games and such in my spare time, learning new things and so on is oddly entertaining at times, ya know? Anyway, this would be a neat addition because I could learn to implement HMDs into these projects.”
Anthony: “I just wanted to preface this post with a big thank you for the chance to hear the community out on our input. I feel that devs have great ideas but sometimes miss the mark because of lack of connection with their target demographic. What I love about vr is the exciting possibilities that now open up. Ways to entertain, explore and most importantly connect. I think the ideal vr device will be capable of high end gaming…amazing theater experience as well as bringing us together like never before. I dream of a day where we can put our headset on…see loved ones from across the world in 3d as if they were standing before us. I think the tech is almost at the point where we have capture devices that would make this a possibility. Additionally I dream of being able to travel abroad be it for educational or otherwise. Imagine being able to travel to the different WWII battle sites and experiencing history as it sits today. Hell…even just theatrical reinactments? Would be incredibly powerful in education. I think versatility with a focus on gaming is the ideal vr device. I want it to be a Swiss army knife of sorts. When I am able to get my hands on a vr headset I will begin development of the things I’ve listed above. I am only at the beginning stages but…all the same…I will be apart of this movement one way or another. I will leave my mark.”
Razhak: “I’d be excited about experiences. There’s a number i could name just now off the top of my head: 1) Jurassic World (experiencing life among the dinosaurs). 2) Antarctica (personally I’ve been here… very few get a chance to visit the south pole. Here you could experience the frigid and scarce polar cap that is our South Pole. 3). Another World (visit another planet, maybe something Pandora-ish, like in Avatar, with floating mountainscapes).”
OCULUS RIFF: WWW.oculus.com
Sign up here to follow the release of “Henry – the VR Experience”: https://www1.oculus.com/storystudio/henry/
Follow on Twitter the Oculus Story Studio on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ovrstorystudio
Hedgehogs may have a resurgence as a popular home pet: http://imgur.com/BZh8hi5
What are some example of how it feels to be in Virtual Reality? See this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=43&v=VAWaFqyUkiU
Absolute must watch: NY times article on the future of merging virtual reality with the need for human companionship (Sex dolls). But the impact of this is more – much more.