The Promise of Virtual Reality

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel”

– William Gibson, Neuromancer

Billy G

I

Two levels of promise, a reality abstracted from itself, a place occupied by the new children of the future. This is the VR we will soon have. Think black goggles strapped to the faces of a billion users, the stuff of modern legend and twentieth-century cyberpunk, coming to an Oculus Rift near you.

We’re living in a curious time, that just-before moment where the incredible outline of a genuinely new thing appears on our collective horizon but refuses to reveal itself completely, dock and take passengers. It may be that we’re a few months or even a year away from the first consumer iteration of Oculus’ headset, but there is no gun-jumping going on here. This tech is a big deal, and those who’ve used it Understand. Each visitor to whom I attach my Rift DevKit 1 has a pornographically good time. During the virtual rollercoaster demo, a friend managed to actually headbutt the keyboard when trying to duck under an oncoming obstacle.   Read the rest of this entry »

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