Who Needs People When You Have VR – Oculus VR Founder
Palmer Luckey is the founder and creator of Oculus Rift but he’s also a wee bit weird and maybe a little crazy. Or perhaps he’s just thinking ahead and being realistic.
We already see little need to interact with humans face to face. It’s evident in our obsession with how many followers we have or always looking at a screen. Luckey took that one step further by proposing that if VR became even more immersive, would we see it as a waste to go out and meet people?
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Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift must expand beyond visuals and allow for touch-based human-to-human interaction, creator Palmer Luckey said in a new interview from PAX East in Boston, Mass. All of this is in the way of creative a fully immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re really in a “virtual reality,” Luckey said.
“[Virtual reality], it can’t just be a visual thing. If VR remains a visual only thing, then certainly we’ll never replace human touch-based interactions,” Luckey said in a group interview captured by Maximum PC. “But for many interactions, it could.”
He went on to say something we’ve all heard before – VR will advance so far that we won’t be able to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t.
“How do I know you’re real,” Luckey said to the interviewer. “You’re just standing there. You could be a hologram. But we’re still having a meaningful interaction. At some point it could even be [considered to be] irresponsible to waste the resources to…why did you need to get on a plane and burn all of that fuel to ship yourself over when you could have just hopped in your VR headset?”
When asked whetehr VR would isolate people, Luckey’s answer was that they wouldn’t care if the line between fantasy and reality became blurred. To put it another way, do you care that you’re sitting alone in the dark when you’re playing a truly engrossing game?
“Physically isolated, maybe. But I don’t think socially isolated. If anything, I think VR is one of the most potentially connecting technologies we have out there,” Luckey said. “I guess you will have to ask yourself, ‘Why do we care if we’re physically isolated if we’re mentally connected?’ If you can perfectly simulate reality, why do you need to actually go see people in real life?”
“Eventually, VR is going to be good enough some day [where it’s] as good or close to as good as real life. And if you want to simulate sitting in a room watching a TV, you’ll be able to do that,” Luckey said. “How good is has to be for someone to accept it, that’s a different level for each person. But we’ll get there eventually.”
Luckey also reiterated his statement regarding the oncoming obsolescence of TVs and traditional displays.
“I think there’s almost no way that traditional displays will be around in a couple decades because it just won’t be feasible,” he said. “Why in the world would you buy a 60″ TV that even if it were dirt cheap, for that, it’s still going to cost a lot to ship it and make it from raw materials. A VR headset is going to be much better and much cheaper and you can take it anywhere.”
Finally, Luckey said virtual reality still has a lot of growing to do to reach its full potential. “It’s not where we need it to be to be really mass-market,” Luckey said. It is good enough, however, so that people are beginning to understand its potential, he said.