Is Ready Player One’s OASIS even possible?

Today, I wanted to talk about OASIS — the virtual world that exists within the book Ready Player One. For those who don’t know what either of them are; Ready Player One is a science fiction book written by Ernest Cline, the screenwriter behind the film Fanboys .etc.

OASIS is an MMO simulation platform that is essentially a virtual universe made of multiple different worlds. One world, for example, is World of Warcraft, and another is an education zone. All of these worlds are seamless, and users can travel between them at will (as long as they have the transportation and credits).

The wish for OASIS to exist in real life is strong, with some even going to lengths to draft their own ideas on how to bring the OASIS to life. With the rise of VR, the situation has garnered even more attention that ever, So join me as we dive into the topic and try to gauge whether or not a real OASIS is possible either now or in the future.

So let’s dive right in.

Right off the bat, I’m sure for those who know what OASIS is, there’s a good chance that you want it to be real. I mean, who doesn’t?! Sadly, there are a few major issues that pretty much kill the idea of OASIS dead in the water for our real life world. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so feel free to let me know what YOU think!

First off, the first major issue that is blocking OASIS being a real thing, in my opinion, is the fact that it exists in Ready Player One. Because Ready Player One was such a runaway success, every person who has read Ready Player One knows of the existence of the idea of an OASIS-type system.

When you combine this fact with the possibility that some of the readers are developers themselves, then you have a handful of developers who want to work on the same thing.

“But Kitatus, why don’t they just team up?!” I hear your shout in your mind in my direction. That’s a great question. One that I don’t have an answer for.

Perhaps it’s because they want the glory of bringing to reality all for themselves, maybe they are worried about profit margins or maybe they just don’t want to commit seriously to an OASIS replica project.

Needless to say at this point, the fact that idea behind OASIS is now public knowledge, I doubt they’ll ever be the one virtual universe to rule them all.

This leads me onto my second point, VR. In the story of Ready Player One, VR is a key interface for OASIS. Yes, people can use OASIS without VR as explained in the book, but VR is one of the core draws of OASIS.

Being able to transport yourself to many different worlds that share the same universe is the main powerful context that sets OASIS apart from being just a cool name for an interesting piece of tech.

Within the world of Ready Player One, it creates a single alternate living breathing universe that exists alongside ours. Not multiple different universes but a singular universe in which many different worlds inhabit.

The fact that there are VR devices already around and with more on the way seemingly monthly, I think it would be near impossible at this point to create the one OASIS-style VR device to rule them all. There’s just again too much fragmentation for it to work in my eyes. As always, though, I could be wrong, so if you disagree, please let me know!

The next point I want to raise, which to some is an obvious one is the licensing issues that an OASIS-style world would create. Within Ready Player One, another one of the big draws of OASIS is that you’re free to fly around in a tie fighter or DeLorean, wield lightsabers or many other such copyright infringements things.

As you can guess, the likelihood of having a virtual world populated with all the copyrighted content featured in OASIS in Ready Player One is highly, highly unlikely. But not impossible.

For the last issue that would block OASIS becoming a real-life thing, I’d like to present, what I like to call, the doubters syndrome. Calling what I am about to explain as doubters syndrome is not meant to offend anyone, it’s just the catchiest thing I could come up with when writing this episode.

Doubters syndrome is the name I like to give the stigma new technology has with people who are uneducated about said new technology. Take VR for example, which I’ll admit, I am also a “Doubter” on this topic, even though I own a HTC Vive.

Basically, there is a strong argument that VR could cause psychological damage to people who have mental health issues or who simply hate their lives so much they want to escape into new and different worlds.

This will be a future topic for a Kitatus Talks, so I don’t want to spoil my viewpoint on this situation but to sum it up shortly: If you hated your life so much or were mentally ill, and you used VR to escape your reality to join the virtual reality, what happens when that reality ends? Due to VR being such new technology, our understanding of the psychological impact is still in it’s early days.

As I said, I will wait for that specific Kitatus Talks to delve deeper into that topic but for this episode, I think this explains well why we would most likely not see an OASIS in real life become as popular as it is portrayed in the books — People are scared of new technology and new things. Especially when it is technically possible that, it could have a psychological impact on how people perceive reality.

You may have noticed that a lot of my arguments against Oasis being possible in real life is filled with maybes and possibilities. This is due to the fact that I’m honestly unsure if it is actually possible or not. Stranger things have happened and will continue to happen, so I think it is just a case of wait and see.

But now it’s your turn. Did you agree with what I said or have I left gaping holes you have the answer to? Perhaps you have some extra to add that I left out, now is the time for you to reach me either via social media, the youtube comments, the comments on whatever podcast service you’re listening on or on the comments section of wherever this is posted.

The door is open for your viewpoint, and Kitatus Talks isn’t a Kitatus Talks without YOUR thoughts, so hurry up and shoot your thoughts to me!