As “PokemonGo” takes over the entire world & crowds of people from all ages literally risk their lives to “catch them all” one has to wonder what this indicates about the future of virtual reality.
Pokemon launched just days ago in Canada and already neighbourhoods are filled with many people playing the game. This came to my attention when I saw a group of people were standing around my normally empty street. Apparently, I live near a hotspot for Pokemon Lure! every night the cops get called to steer the crowd away but they always come back.
I won’t lie, I downloaded the app yesterday just so I can understand how the game functions and what the allure of it all is. One of my best friends from elementary school, Crystal, guided me through the entire game and after 45 minutes I was hooked. When I was little Pokemon was the game we use to play as kids with “special edition Pokemon cards”, this was a huge game back then and it’s unbelievable to see it revived in an app form ( I have no doubt that the history of the anime attributes to its current popularity). While walking around and catching Pokemon we already had several communicative interactions with people either asking about the game or talking to us about the game. There is a cult-like feel to the game and everyone is invited.
A unique aspect of PokemonGo is the wide variety of players that partake in playing the game, quite literally anywhere from ages 10-50+, as I have witnessed. This really got me to think about what the future holds for us when it comes to virtual reality.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit my friend at his office who works for a tech-based company, heavily invested in virtual reality. I am talking about full body gear sensors that allow you to experience games and modules in an alarmingly realistic way.
After playing a few rounds of games, I took off the head mask and released my hand controls. I remember thinking to myslef; Wow.. this could change everything! it’s really unbelievable how one’s brain quickly adapts to virtual reality simulations.
As I put on my headgear and sensors, the virtual reality game put me on top of a castle, with one goal; to survive the invaders coming to attack and suddenly my brain did the strangest thing: It completely accepted that my reality was now that of the virtual world, every part of my body was functioning as if I was literally living in the simulation.
Having experienced how far virtual reality technology has come so far and witnessing the crowds of people who are currently playing PokemonGO all day every day introduced a chilling thought:
Is our future that of being fully immersed in virtual reality?
If the history of games such as Second life, which was merely a computer-based virtual world, is at all telling of what the future holds, virtual reality could very well become life for many people. After all, the possibilities of a virtual life are greater than that of reality, whatever reality even means nowadays.
Let me know what your thoughts are on this! And if you have played PokemonGo yet?!