Can Virtual Reality Become the Next Big Social Platform?
Keeping in touch with friends and relatives has become incredibly easy in the digital age. People have been meeting, dating, talking, and playing online for years, through services like social networks, chat apps, dating services, and more. The emergence of virtual reality can – and probably will – open up new frontiers for social interaction and entertainment online, changing the way people interact, play, and have fun over the global network. VR could become the go-to platform for social networks in the near future – this is possibly the reason why Facebook was so eager to take over Oculus two years ago.
Let’s see how VR can impact the way we interact with each other over the internet.
The games we play
The emergence of smartphones has brought casual games into focus. Millions of people run casual games on their smartphones or play video poker at Wintingo casino from wherever they see fit. No matter if they are called social (like the ones connected to Facebook) or casual (like the ones available through Wintingo), all of these games have one thing in common: they basically offer a single-player experience. With a few exceptions, like the Wintingo’s multiplayer slot machines or a handful of social titles, players play for themselves, and they only rely on others to obtain lives and other in-game benefits (or not even that). VR can turn both Facebook and Wintingo games into a far more social experience, where players can actually play games together – yet the games themselves have to change in the process.
One example of what gaming could – and maybe even should – become in virtual reality can already be seen in the online virtual world of Second Life. Here, players can visit a series of locations and play a variety of games, some of them alone, others together.
The future is closer than you think
Speaking of Second Life: did you know that Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world, has begun developing a new virtual world last year? Called Project Sansar, the newest creation from the company promises to offer its users a never-before-seen multi-user virtual experience to explore and create in, which will “empower people to easily create, share, and monetize their own multi-user, interactive virtual experiences, without requiring engineering resources”. Aside from offering a meeting point for VR headset owners, Project Sansar will be available for use on a PC and a smartphone. Entertainment and interaction will not be its sole purpose, though – it will “also extend the value of VR to a wide variety of use-cases — from gaming and entertainment to education, architecture, art, community-building, business meetings, healthcare, conferences, training, and more,” Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab said.
As you can see, the first steps toward VR becoming a new and improved social platform have been taken. As soon as VR becomes mainstream, we’ll probably see even more such projects emerge.