Virtual Reality Faces a Tough Reality: Users Feel Isolated

VR technology may never reach its full potential if it continues to make people feel less connected, not more.

June 14, 2017 8:47 am
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Testing a virtual reality headset. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

What’s the point of entering a VR world if you can’t share it with anyone else?

Rachel Metz delves deeply into this question for MIT Technology Review. Metz is convinced that virtual reality is failing to take advantage of how it can connect others.

Partly this is due to a current lack of VR users—after all, if your friends don’t have the tech, they won’t be able to connect even if they’d like to.

But Metz also believes more people would buy the gear if VR fully embraced its potential for connection. She notes progress is being made.

“Recently I found a virtual social place that’s actually fun. It’s a free app for Rift and another high-end headset, HTC’s Vive, called Rec Room. Its virtual world is laid out like a cartoon version of a high school gym where you can play games like paintball and dodgeball, which you control with physical movements in real life,” writes Metz.

“There’s also a big communal lobby called the locker room (for hanging out, not for changing in and out of virtual clothes—you can do that in a private Rec Room dorm room). In the locker room you can meet up with friends or strangers, shoot hoops, or play Ping-Pong.”

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