While I'm excited by the possibilities of Oculus Rift to transform Second Life (or even become Second Life's successor), many SLers sort of shrug at the technology, or after Facebook's involvement, look on it with trepidation. Why should SLers in general care about VR? I asked Silicon Valley Virtual Expo conference organizer Karl Krantz to make his case:
"One of the positive things about the recent Facebook acquisition of Oculus," argues Karl, "is that it elevates the conversation around virtual reality. Instead of just talking about building higher resolution HMDs for first-person shooters, people are now very concerned with how we will handle issues like identity, privacy, governance, and interoperability in a VR metaverse. These are areas where Second Life (and OpenSim) have been exploring for a good decade now. Part of the backlash about the Facebook news has been because people imagine the Facebook approach to identity, privacy, and advertising being applied to a global VR virtual world, and it terrifies them.
"This presents us with a perfect opportunity to start bringing these worlds together for some serious conversations:
"We are trying to bring together many different worlds with the SVVR Conference & Expo. Consumer virtual reality needs a home outside of the gaming world where it is currently entrenched. Don’t get me wrong, VR games are a lot of fun, but the opportunities presented by VR are much bigger than just more immersive gaming. There is cinematic VR, virtual tourism, intuitive 3D modeling, applications in health and wellness, the many applications that haven’t even been conceived of yet, and of course open-ended social virtual worlds like Second Life.
"As a long-time Second Life resident who is in the middle of this new VR community, I am constantly reminding people than many of these seemingly 'new' ideas have been explored and refined for years in Second Life. I hope that the VR community can learn from the long established virtual worlds like Second Life, and that the Second Life and OpenSim communities can learn from the rapid innovation and experimentation happening in VR right now."
Karl, by the way, uses Second Life under the avatar Karl Alexandria, though he's more often in High Fidelity, just as "Karl". And of course, he'll be there in person running SVVR later this month.
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