- Posted by Holosphere
- On 1st March 2018
As the price of virtual reality headsets continues to drop and the number of apps and games being developed for them increases, we wonder what sort of impact this will have on interpersonal relationships as we see it used more and more in the social space.
It seems even some of the largest social media websites, such as Facebook, agree that social media’s progress could be based in virtual reality applications and videos – tailored to the currently estimated 6% of the market that owns them. Research from YouGov suggests that tablets in the UK had only taken 3% of the market at a similar point in their development, meaning there’s comparatively double the number of VR headsets sold, and this number is still on the rise.
After Facebook acquired Oculus back in 2014, it wasn’t until 2017 that we saw the release of a new social media VR based app – Facebook spaces, where users can create avatars of themselves and interact with anybody around the world via their Facebook account. By using this they can share their photos and videos, complete activities or just chat with whomever they want via the app. This opens up a whole new world of interactivity which for many may not be possible, taking into account time differences, language barriers, disabilities and the thousands of miles that would have to be traveled to achieve the same in the real world.
With the introduction and growing popularity of 360˚ photography and video capture, it’s only natural that the next step would be stepping into said content as if you were there, being able to rotate your head naturally to see everything rather than simply dragging your mouse around. Your mind is easily tricked into taking what it sees and believing it is reality and can fill in the gaps that real life sensations would offer.
For example, after coming home from a long day at work, why sit in your own living room when you could be sitting in a snowy lodge by a nice warm fireplace talking to friends from all over the world? Or watching a beautiful sunrise over the grand canyon in a beautiful 360 HD capture? The whole world is now available for us to see and experience from our homes, either alone or along with other users.
The recent and ever-improving AltspaceVR is another example of a social-based platform, where users can play games, watch concerts, comedy nights and meet youtube based icons all while doing so with other people while still in the comfort of their own home. Similarly, vTime offers similar experiences but spends more time just allowing people to sit together and talk, in well-crafted environments.
There are also more customizable apps and games. For example, the immensely popular release of VRchat, which allows users to create fully modded worlds and characters, with full freedom of content – also available as non-VR applications, albeit these currently pander more to gamers and people familiar with internet subculture. However, the range of available content just shows that there really is something for everybody to enjoy.
In the future, you can expect to see virtual reality being introduced and improved further and we wouldn’t be surprised if – in given time, it becomes part of our everyday life – similar to the mobile phone or television is now. It’s even possible that people begin to live aspects of their lives more virtually than within reality.