Since the very beginning of VU’s inception, avoiding what we define as ‘killtech’ (violent gaming systems and technology) has been a priority. Though we can’t predict what the future will bring and what future audiences may demand, I can say with almost 100% confidence that this attitude will stick with us throughout the entirety games development and evolution.
The decision to move away from the more intense and rough styles of gaming, such as in first-person shooters — doesn’t mean there aren’t members of our team that enjoy and recognise the excitement in those types of games, but we are all of the same thinking that this isn’t the direction VU should take, being incompatible with the spirit of the game; centered around fun, discovery and community.
With mixed reality tech, there are those that want to explore how the emerging tech can be applied to other fields such as military or policing — creating a safe environment for training or strategy sessions. The issue for us, when we are approached by those individuals, is that the developmental requirements would fall under the same umbrella of the kind of technology we are trying to move away from.
Even potential safety tech applications such as training for security purposes would still take our developers down a path of action-based simulations, focussing primarily on quickness of response and training muscle memory for a real-world situation. While this may bring enjoyment and fun at some level for the user, enjoyability is not the main objective of such simulations and therefore simply isn’t compatible with VUs core principles and mission.
There are companies out there already working on purpose-built tech, with experience in creating systems that are applicable to those types of situations in the real world. We are working from a different mindset, where the main purpose of the tech is to entertain and engage the participant while they are connected. We are not trying to train people for real-world activities, we are providing players with an alternate space to express themselves, in an entertaining environment that feels laid-back and balanced.
Avoiding the more extreme styles of gaming and instead cultivating a setting where there is heavy emphasis on the environment being one of exploration and fun is our main goal. By making the conscious decision to bypass a lot of that negativity common in more aggressive games and simulations, we can build an all-inclusive virtual world and allow its community — by providing the tools for players to co-create their experience — to organically grow towards collaboration on shared goals, helping to form a more positive and peaceful atmosphere.
Ciaran Foley is CEO of Ukledo and Immersive Entertainment, Inc. a Southern California virtual reality software company developing a new virtual engagement platform called Virtual Universe (VU).
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