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Reg man straps on Facebook's new VR goggles, feels sullied by the experience

Milton Silver badge


"We're a long way from Ready Player One or Snow Crash."

That's a bit like saying "We're a far cry from Dan Brown or Shakespeare"—who on earth would mention them in the same sentence? It's a good job Stephenson is still alive else he'd be spinning in his grave to hear Snow Crash mentioned in the same breath as RPO, which was intermittently entertaining, puerile, derivative, stilted and shallow (and that's just the book). Snow Crash was startling, original, imaginative, very clever and well-written. Really, not much comparison, not even for the latest Generation Stupid.

As for VR, although the hype-vs-reality ratio is similar to 3D, I don't expect it to die in the same way 3D did.

First, there is vast room for improvement, and clear signs that this will happen. The size and weight of the devices will shrink; their performance and nausea-inducing weaknesses will gradually be overcome.

Second, even outside of entertainment, there are many compelling use cases, ranging right the way from remote surgery to combat training, and they will drive uptake and evolution even if gaming doesn't.

While I don't think VR is going to be fit for major mainstream uptake for at least five years and possibly 10, I'm sure it will happen. The key hurdle, IMHO, is making the experience truly comfortable—which it plainly is not—for body, eyes and brain, and perhaps also (where gaming and stuff like remote meetings are concerned) the truly realistic integration of other people.

When your VR set is supremely easy to wear, and your colleagues / team-mates are recognisably and fondly themselves, not just stutterly-rendered orcs with dodgy fangs ... then VR will have truly arrived.

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