Monday, May 05, 2014

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Oculus Rift Takes on Second Life's Original Mission Statement, Aiming for a "Billion Person Virtual World"

Drop everything and watch Oculus Rift CEO Brendan Iribe describing to TechCrunch Disrupt his intent to build a billion user MMO:

Second Life during its heyday had this as its mission statement:

To connect everyone to an online world that improves the human condition.

Now, says Iribe (using MMO interchangeably with "the Metaverse"): "This is going to be the largest MMO ever made... a billion person virtual world MMO is going to require a bigger network than exists today." A billion isn't everyone, but it's close enough (for now). And as the TechCrunch interviewer notes, this is a shift from how Oculus Rift was originally pitched, as a gaming platform.

And about 12 minutes in, Iribe talks about a multiplayer avatar-to-avatar platform developed for Oculus Rift by Valve:

"You will believe these virtual avatars are real... and you can have a face-to-face communication with them. It will take awhile before it's a realistic looking person," he says, but that's the goal.


More above, and also here.

Hat tip: The Verge.

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adec

Pretty cool ... I have no objection to Oculus pairing with Facebook .. especially as Mark has said he has no plans to make profit off the hardware... am more excited that its going to get a wider reach.. and I'm in when it becomes available...

Adeon Writer

I'm not giving my real name to Zuck, hopefully that won't bat me from tne Metaverse.

Adeon Writer

I'm not giving my real name to Zuck, hopefully that won't bar me from the Metaverse.

Lots of promise, though. But I don't think they have the same level of creative freedom planned that we take for granted in SL.

No futuristic VR headsets will too that.

Dartagan Shepherd

I would think many of us SL'ers can write this script, because we've been here before.

Facebook will give it media traction because they have the reach and the hype cycle is born.

Companies will jump on board and find that the virtual aspect provides more distraction than many existing tools (Seminars, meetings, much education etc. do not benefit by VR, they are burdened by it for no good gains).

Companies leave and we're left with niches that did find ways to make it work for them and simulation environments that did actually have some use for VR-vision.

The game industry will enjoy a boost, coasting off the hype wave, until that industry too settles back into many games providing support for the hardware goodies although it won't dominate the game industry as a must-have 5 years after acceptance.

And then we're off to the next iterations of tech toy touted as world-changing-bringing-everyone-together kind of utopia.

Iggy

@Dartagan, but what if we use VR tech for AR? I have attended a few Skype meetings and we had an author Skype to my class this semester to give a talk with Q&A about his book. It worked as well as any face-to-face academic meeting.

Removing that third wall of the screen with Occulus could be powerful indeed, but we'd need something less geeky than a scuba mask bolted to our heads.

Pussycat Catnap

Everybody say "chooo chooo" cause the hype train just pulled into the station.

A.J.

Oculus Rift will revolutionize virtual reality like 3D glasses revolutionized the motion picture industry.

People can't resist wearing sexy gadgets on their face. It's human nature.

Eddi Haskell

I see two huge risk with Oculus, High Fidelity, and potential Second Life integration with Oculus. First, if all the average Facebook user has to purchase is a $400 "helmet" viewer, then it stands a chance. However, if we are looking at all sorts of other hardware -- such as alternative input devices and sensory receptors- that will drive the cost of entry up to well over 1000 it will be niche. Second, and this is the big one, if the learning curve for Oculus and new Virtual Worlds is as complicated as Second Life is today, it is not going anywhere in terms of mass market. We also need a Second Life 2.0 that can work without new hardware to move forward -- Oculus headsets need to be considered as a great incremental option for current Second Life users.

Ajax Manatiso

It will certainly cut down on smoking since you would have to choose one or the other, but it would also end sipping on a beverage, talking to someone else in the room, glancing at the ballgame on the tv, and what I do lately, play cards on my tablet with my gf while at the same time we are dancing together in SL (and making comments to one another in RL).

As I said before, cool and expensive - much like a segway and bound to be just as popular.

Pussycat Catnap

" First, if all the average Facebook user has to purchase is a $400 "helmet" viewer, then it stands a chance."

I'm going to guess you meant "stands no chance".

That's a big hurdle...

We live in a world where we can't even get people to update a free viewer, to update free patches to their OS, to update their browser for years at a time with free updates.

Asking people to pay $400 so they can mount an octopus on on their face to see a website that they can see already on their funky old monitor with a scratch in the corner and a lolcat printout taped to the corner...

I think people here in the tech bubble of Silicon Valley / San Francisco who are in their 20s/30s and hang out at Ritual Cafe with their under-roasted foul tasting cappuccinos because its "cool" while wearing fedoras and vests and sporting white-boy goatees and typing into their i-devices instead of chatting each other up need a reality check.

I'm one of the 'you luddites need to update your gear folks' so it feels funny for me to be saying this...

But sometimes the luddites are right.

Facebook got to have such absurd numbers because its a free website you can log into to get an account and look at selfies of 16-19 year old girls wearing less than they should be...
- It doesn't require advanced gear to get into. You don't need to driver a Fiat to use it, you don't need a Macbook, and you certainly don't need a $400 octopus that's escaped the fishtank.

What is going to convince people to get this, when the Segway didn't manage to replace walking? You can walk for free (so far, I'm sure the 1% will charge us for it soon enough - maybe that's what the Segway was trying to do)... so people didn't go for that thing.

Is this just going to be used by the mall cops of 2020?

I think a blog post from the other day had the point here when it noted that "we don't need an AI"...

I'm thinking we also don't need this.

Not en mass at least.

Ciaran Laval

He needs to read the history of Second Life and then start again with his aims. This has all been said before.

Iggy

@Ajax, YES on the Segway ref! They were going to change the world, too. Look how cool everyone looks riding them about.

On the other hand, every student now clutches a smart phone like a life-preserver as they walk about campus. That seems geeky to me. So make the Rift invisible and I suspect our addicted wireheads would flock to it like free beer.

Iggy

Pussycat, you really have not been to FB much have you? I see not 16-year-olds in hootchiewear but cousins posting baby photos, trying to rope you into prayer chains, or geeky friends sharing pics of their latest 1/35 tank models (ahem, I just posted one of those myself).

Clearly, FB is not the place for the cool party kids any more. Ma and Pa Kettle and Grammie are there now.

len

Since no one realized the boomers would take over Facebook and abjured Second Life (boring), the naysayers may get a shock in that the boomers ARE the sedentary ones, can afford gear, and since TV has gone to crap might actually like hanging out with their high school buddies in the old places wearing the old faces.

The challenge to the young crop of 3D artists is This Is NOT A Gaming Community and The Usual Elf Ears and Big Tits might be exactly the wrong avatars to build.

elizabeth (irihapeti)

what Iggy said

post any selfies that you shouldnt on your FB and the olds not going to be happy. You be grounded on Friday and Saturday nights and stuck at home on the couch watching Disney vids with your little brother and sister

Canoro Philipp

400 dollars may not be too much for US citizens, but surprise, the US is not the entire world.

400 for some may be like 4,000 dollars for people from another country, and even more for others that live in poverty in third world countries that have Facebook accounts to communicate with their families in places that have a computer in their towns.
would you pay 4,000 dollars to communicate with your family when you can do it perfectly for free?

if Oculus give the hardware for 4 US cents, it may reach the billions of users. if they don't, they may have to be comfortable with having some hundreds of users.

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