I believe virtual reality is going to be huge. Huge. …Eventually. But when? Are we talking years, or decades? I visited yet another VR festival this week, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’re still in the very early days of the medium. It’s amazing! It’s thrilling! And it’s still kind of the Stone Age. When do we get to discover bronze?
People talk about a “Cambrian explosion” of VR content over the next year or so. I sure hope so. Because there is a very plausible future in which a hard core of VR enthusiasts build systems and worlds that whet the appetite, tickle the interest, and fan the flame of true belief in a tiny minority — but spend a decade failing to break through to the larger population.
Most VR experiences so far are more curiosities than they are compelling. One exception, for me, was Leap Motion’s no-controller motion-tracking experience, which simply tracks your hands in real time such that you almost seamlessly, almost perfectly, wield them and use them in a virtual world. It doesn’t quite just work, but it’s close enough that the weightlessness of virtual objects is actually instinctively disconcerting.