A VR Gamer/YouTuber Delivers a Gut-Punch Reality Check to Virtual Reality Gaming: It’s Not Just Social VR That’s Struggling to Take Off, It’s the Entire VR Industry

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Someone posted the following YouTube video to the official Sansar Discord channel today. It’s a mixed-reality video recorded on a green-screen set constructed by Drift0r, a VR enthusiast and avid gamer, within his own home (which should tell you quite a bit about what level a fan he is of virtual reality).

But he certainly does not pull any punches when it comes down to dissecting exactly what’s wrong with the current state of virtual reality in general, and VR gaming in particular:

Now, this is not some VR dilettante; this is what I would consider a hardcore VR gamer who has made a sizeable investment in both the computer hardware and software, not only to play VR games but to record videos of himself doing so. He’s also a popular YouTube personality with over 1.3 million subscribers. And he says in the description of this particular video:

Virtual Reality has been struggling to catch on and go mainstream for almost four years now. I personally am a huge fan of VR and own the Rift, Vive, & PSVR; but I have to face the fact that VR gaming is dying. This video goes over the current major issues with VR gaming and offers some suggestions on how to fix them. I show off Beat Saber, Sprint Vector, Doom VFR, Sairento, Gorn, Creed, Raw Data, and several other games in mixed reality too.

For someone like this to be saying that VR is dying, and to suggest that full mainstream acceptance of VR may lie 20 to 30 years in the future, instead of the 5 to 10 years most VR market forecasters are predicting, should give a lot of companies working in VR serious pause (including those firms building social VR platforms). This guy is the consummate insider, somebody who should be leading the cheering section, telling us that things are not okay with the current state of VR gaming, at least.

The dirty secret of VR gaming overall, let alone social VR, is that very few people still own a VR headset. The vast majority of people playing VR-capable games and visiting VR-capable virtual worlds are not using a VR headset; they are in desktop mode. And it’s not just social VR that is struggling to attract paying customers, it’s the entire VR industry that is facing the reality that most people aren’t adopting the technology. As Drift0r explains, the hard, cold truth of VR gaming is that the games are selling in numbers that are pitiful by desktop game standards.


So, what does this mean for Sansar, High Fidelity, and the other social VR companies? It means that they should be wary of over-focusing on virtual reality to the exclusion of desktop users. Linden Lab smartly made the move to integrate text chat in Sansar for both desktop and VR users, something that Philip Rosedale has been notably loathe to do in High Fidelity (although I understand that text chat is included in the HiFi client, but disabled by default).

Virtual reality may not be dying, as this YouTuber asserts, but it isn’t looking overly healthy, either. I’ve already blogged about a couple of social VR projects that have fallen on hard times waiting for virtual reality to become more popular (Anyland and, more recently, Virtual Universe). The advent of the attractively-priced, standalone Oculus Quest headset might ignite the VR marketplace, but the forecasters have been wrong before.

So, what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment here with your thoughts and opinions. Or, even better, join us on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server! Over 150 people who are passionate about social VR and virtual worlds are talking about this and other topics every day. And you’re invited to join our discussions!

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A Look at the Latest Gadgets in Virtual Reality

There is no shortage of new innovations to make virtual reality even more immersive. The following six-minute video compiled by Real Spirit Dynamics gives us a glimpse of some of the new VR technology that is currently in development:

Among the projects profiled is a VR chair by a company called MMOne which turns on three different axes:

I wonder how much this little gadget is going to cost when it is commercially released? This potentially vomit-inducing chair is obviously intended more for serious education (flight training schools, etc.) and for high-end gaming arcades than for personal use in your own home (unless you’re a millionaire with a thirst for bleeding-edge VR).

(A big thank-you to Bruce Thomson for alerting me to the first video via Facebook!)

Virtual Universe: How Good VR Design Helps You Avoid Feeling Queasy

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am choosing to participate in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. Why? Two reasons:

  1. After my recent guided tour of VU, I feel very strongly that this is going to be a successful and popular virtual world/MMO hybrid platform, and I want to be a part of it when VU launches their beta this summer. This is the very first blockchain-based virtual world that I actually feel excited about!
  2. As a Canadian citizen, I reside in one of the three countries where I am currently legally forbidden from purchasing VU tokens (the other two are the United States and China). This means that the only way I can legitimately earn VU tokens to use in this social VR space before the beta launch is via the VU ICO Partner Program.

I want you to know this up front: this blogpost is a promotion for VU, in exchange for VU tokens.  You can follow on this webpage to see how many VU tokens I have earned by completing tasks in this Partner Program if you wish (right now, I am at number two on the VU Token Leaderboard). There’s nothing stopping you from participating in this Partner Program yourself, and earning some VU tokens!

IMPORTANT: VU Tokens are not a real currency. They are ERC-20 based blockchain tokens intended to permit players of Virtual Universe exclusive access to digital assets within a VR game known as Virtual Universe (VU). They are a form of in-game virtual currency.  Virtual value attributed to the VU Token will be as a result of in-game efforts by players, and no future value is represented or guaranteed.


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Ciaran Foley, the CEO of Ukledo and Immersive Entertainment, Inc. a Southern California virtual reality software company which is developing a new virtual world/MMO hybrid platform called Virtual Universe (VU), has written an interesting article about the various ways which VR software developers can avoid users experiencing motion sickness and nausea while using their programs.

In summary, those five ways are:

  • Using high-quality VR headsets;
  • Developing haptic feedback systems;
  • Developing a “virtual nose”: Researchers at Purdue University have suggested the mere act of including a virtual nose to the VR headset display can significantly reduce the effects of nausea by 13.5% (small but still significant);
  • Keeping things steady by tethering the player to a single spot;
  • Focusing on the environmental design of a VR platform.

Ciaran writes:

There is a slight learning curve to the mechanisms and feel of VR, and it is something that participants of VR will have to have patience with, monitoring their own tolerance, levels of use and ideal comfort settings. Those growing up with VR will adopt it far more easily, much like what we are seeing with Gen-Z having grown up with cell phones. VR has the potential to be just as common as gaming consoles, and people who spend a lot of time around these types of devices will also find it much easier to adapt to VR hardware.

Using what we and the industry as a whole have learned about optimal VR, our VU — Virtual Universe aims to improve on existing models and technologies without detracting from the experience. Instead of restricting core functionality like free movement as in other titles — which can be less immersive and perhaps a bit restrictive — visual tricks will be implemented such as playing with perspectives and field of view to give the environment a smoother feel, improving comfort for the player and helping them keep their lunch in the real world.