New Upload VR editorial by my colleague Balaji Krishnan, who argues that new social VR platforms must be relevant and useable to everyone who doesn't own a VR headset:
Combine these two trends — slow growth of VR, plus time/place-shifting of content consumption — and you can see that social VR as it is typically conceived confronts a near-insurmountable adoption hurdle. Facebook and other VR developers are asking consumers to invest a fair amount of money and quite a lot of time on a platform most of their friends still don’t use (since most of them don’t even own a virtual reality device) which also runs counter to every content consumption convenience they’ve enjoyed for the last 7-10 years.
It's not unlike the problem Second Life faced during the 2006-08 hype period, being a client optimized for high-end desktop PCs and dedicated broadband trying to gain traction when the market was rapidly shifting to laptops, wireless, and then smartphones.
The solution? A way for social VR users to still be social with the rest of us:
Some enthusiasts have predicted that VR will soon be embraced by consumers with as much fervor as smartphones. This may one day be true, but the analogy misses an important distinction: Smartphones were and are still phones, capable of connecting with feature phones of a previous era, and the landline phones of an even earlier era. Smartphones have succeeded because for all their powerful features, they also maintain a direct connection to the platforms which came before them. To have any chance at succeeding in a similar fashion, virtual reality developers must devote themselves not just to creating powerful 3D experiences, but also powerful bridges to decades of 2D content, the devices they were built for — and just as key, the people still connected to them.
Which reminds me, when are we going to see a demo of High Fidelity or Sansar on mobile?