"You were a big supporter of virtual reality worlds like Second Life 10 years ago," I pointed out to him, "but they didn't pan out. Why do you think VR will succeed now where SL failed?"
"New technology makes it far more scalable," Scoble told me. "SL failed 'cause companies could only get 100 people onto an island. That limitation will no longer be true." (He's talking about private Second Life sims which companies like NBC once owned, but due to SL's server architecture, could support very few simultaneous users. And yes, Second Life is still profitable, but it's fair to say it failed to go mass market as once expected back then.)
"How about lack of consumer interest in virtual reality?" I asked him, referring to this recent report. "When we were talking about SL in 2006, it got tons of media coverage like VR is now, but the consumers never showed up, or tried it once and left."
"This is different. Regular consumers never lit up when I showed them Second Life. The two aren't even close to comparable."
"Could be," I allowed. "I see a similar one-try pattern in VR, like with Google Cardboard, there's a lot of installs but then usage peters off quickly."
"Yes, that's Cardboard," Robert answered. "What has me excited is the high end, not the low end."
So there's that. The high end of VR also has a high price point (upwards of $3000 or beyond, when you include the PC needed to run the Oculus Rift or Valve-HTC Vive), but that price may drop soon enough, especially for smartphone-connected VR. As for VR's future, I guess we need to wait 10 more years to see if it meets Second Life's fate, or as Robert thinks, gone beyond.
Photo via VentureBeat.
Please share this post: