Forget the hype about the new age of immersive virtual reality. That’s the polar opposite of where we’re heading. We live in a time when expedience is the pre-eminent capability and accessibility trumps utility. We watch movies and play games on 5” phone screens instead of 50” televisions. We shoot photos with an 8 megapixel smartphone instead of the $1000 SLR gathering dust on our shelf. We hunt and peck text messages because we don’t want to give our undivided attention to a five minute phone call. And we’re starting to put on smart watches because it’s too much of a hassle to reach into our pocket and take out our smartphone.
That’s why I’m skeptical about the brave new 3D web that’s supposed to be launched by Facebook’s $2 Billion acquisition of Oculus. We’re not willing to pay attention to anything for more than five minutes without checking Twitter or Facebook, sending a text or taking a Selfie. When faced with technology options we choose the one that requires the least commitment to undivided attention, the fastest startup time and the lowest learning curve. That’s not VR. Not today. And not for the foreseeable future.
I’m confident that immersive VR will become the dominant domain for many of the millions of hard core immersive gamers and role players around the world. But until we can wear contact lenses that shift us seamlessly between RL, AR and VR, don’t hold your breath for mainstream use.