Philip Rosedale recently said something very interesting to Christian Nutt of Gamasutra about his upcoming VR platform, High Fidelity, which is already compatible with users in multiple VR setups, so Oculus Rift and Vive owners (for example) can already interact together in the same metaverse:
Interestingly, Rosedale sees VR as a natural antidote to the current abuse-soaked state of the internet: "The more synchronous, the more real-time you force the interaction to be, the better everyone behaves. In VR, it’s much harder to be a bully or be abusive if you’re doing it face-to-face."
This caught my attention, because it doesn't quite square with my 10-plus years writing about Second Life, Philip's first VR platform, where real time interaction often leads to months-long battles, user-to-user racism, and griefing of all variety. And so I asked Philip about that:
"What makes you confident this will happen?" I asked Philip. "As you know, Second Life has constant griefing and harassment, even though avatars make eye contact, and there's real time voice/interaction. There's several memes about SL griefing ("Ralph pls go") and YouTube video channels devoted to griefing (like this guy). Why do you think the opposite will happen in virtual reality's next generation?"
Philip Rosedale answered this way:
"I have two thoughts here: First, you need to consider the percentage of griefers-to-users, which I believe is much lower in face-to-face environments like SL as compared to places like forums or chat rooms. Said another way, even though there is griefing in SL, people are much nicer overall than they are on something like Reddit or in blog comments."
He then pointed to updates as another path to VR civility: