There is much talk of virtual reality, virtual worlds and second lives, but despite all efforts it seems that the pioneering phase of similar technologies is bound to last for some (many?) years. It is not just a technology problem, although we’re probably still at a stage comparable to that experienced at the time of the Wright bros compared to current commercial jets, or as the first “mobile phone” seen in the eighties compared to modern smartphones.
The real problem is that the mass is too committed to improving its first life, its reality, to heal more than casually virtual. As long as in emerging countries the income will be a fraction of that in developed countries, and so long as in these last people will have the fear of losing their standard of living due to the economic crisis, to work that is hard to find (especially if you are young and you live in the countries of southern Europe such as Spain, Greece or Italy), to migrants emergency, enthusiasm and be able to devote to the virtual reality will be in market niches.
Virtual reality: the problem of compelling contents
The problem is that as long as it will be niche markets, there will be no content that’s compelling, which involve high costs and are justified only by the possibility of being enjoyed by millions of users. But without really interesting contents once exhausted the media hype numbers will risk to remain modest as have always remained in the case of platforms such as Second Life, that beyond twelve years since the launch is not able to stably attract even a million active users (despite having been tested at least once by more than 40 million users).
The solution for many appears to be address during the launch phase of the platforms and virtual reality devices to heavy gamers. But if you take a look at Reddit, the site by far most popular with this type of users (and not only them), while Gaming subreddit has over 9.8 million users, Oculus Rift does not reach the 70 thousand, Htc Vive is just over 19,000, PlayStation VR is around 2,700 users, SecondLife stops under 2,600 subscribers.
Palmer start to throw water on the fire
Do not be a coincidence that now that Oculus Rift, Htc Vive e Sony PlayStation VR gave away to pre-orders Palmer Luckey, the “lucky boy” founder of Oculus Rift who was able to be bought for $ 2 billion from Facebook, has started to throw water on the fire, explaining that it will take years before devices for VR can become a mass market, that the same GoPro took five years and two models before being able to sell more than 1 million pieces. Before you have in your pocket or wearing a virtual reality device as we do today with smartphones will need to do a lot of education, proposing contents, use, user modes that can be interesting and useful in everyday life, not just beautiful.
I would have liked to explain in the interesting meeting in RL / SL mode that Marina Bellini (aka Mexi Lane in Second Life) held at the Bic Lazio last week, unfortunately the audio betrayed me, will be for the next time. There will ultimately be a lot to talk about on Mondivirtuali.it, so if you want to know how it will end, stay tuned even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and on Youtube).