I don’t care about VR gaming.
VR gaming has been around for some time now — SEGA 3D Glasses anyone? — and it only seems to be the logical sequel to the ever more defined, more complex, more realistic 3D universe current video games are made of.
But when it comes to VR, what I care about is the possibility for a better — if not perfect — work space.
Imagine a peaceful scene: a mountain lake, a green field, a beach or maybe your favorite library; add the perfect weather and lighting conditions, the serenity of nature sounds, or maybe some heavenly music coming from the sky.
And there you are at you magic desk.
With seamless gestures, you can create as many screens as you want, any size, any angle, any configuration.
You can write with your magic pen on an endless sheet of paper. Words can autocomplete themselves if you want them to. Or you can type or use any input device you see fit.
You can browse the Internet until you find a website that offers a VR mode you can teleport into, take what you need, and then go back to your desk.
This dream of a mind palace is not as far away as you may think.
It requires devices that already exist:
- a good chair
- an empty desk
- a computer (call it a smartphone if you like)
- you favorite controllers (keyboard, mouse, trackpad…)
- a camera that tracks your hands (or this)
- a digital pencil
- and of course a VR headset with good headphones
Who will be the first to propose a VR operating system? Apple? Google? Microsoft? A yet unknown startup that will be swallowed by one of them? One thing for sure is that they’re all investing a lot in VR right now.
That said, here are a few of the first UX problems that they’ll have to solve and that I’m interested in:
- how realistic should be the environment? Is there a use case were a 3D universe would be better than a photo-realistic one? Marking the difference between VR and real life might be good for the sake of one’s mind.
- how to define a sound landscape that will be part of the brand? Right now, sounds and music are not a big part of the digital experience (I wrote a blog post about it some time ago) but it might change really quickly in VR.
- how to make the users comfortable so they can move from a 30+ minutes session to a much longer experience? This is the standard that was defined in the latest Google I/O but you can’t expect users to only work 30+ minutes at a time — and it’s going to be a challenge for a smartphone battery. What would be the implications for the users’ health if they’re subject to longer exposition to a VR headset? Which leads me to…
- how to invite the users to leave and take a break? How poetic would it be to get some sort of sunset that slowly dims the lights and encourage you to go for a walk for 5 minutes?
If I got your mind going, I think it’s time for you to watch this and get introduced to VR’s (evil?) twins, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality: