The migration from mobile to VR/AR headset

Infect Teh Interwebs

I own a PC from 2008-2009. It was a great era for me, 6 years of PC with a (back then) relatively decent graphics card, but my PC has become outdated – so I intend to spend a good 1000 euro (which I don’t have) come May to obtain a new Desktop personal computer. It’s a fairly big box and if I’d compress its content in a smaller substrate it would still be a fairly unwieldy piece of metal. Mind you, in ten years I’ll still hope this PC as a backup, for instance for playing an eve online mining alt (which is the most grotesque waste of computational resources, euro and energy since the invention of Bitcoin), by and large because that’s the biggest perceived utility available for me, in a limited (money-constrained) set of utilities. That’s the calculation most people make – what do I have, what is my casual expense margin per month, what has given me somewhat fun in the past – lo and behold and we have a prediction for the future.

Take for instance the “imminent” crop of VR headsets – they are simply too expensive. Very few people have the disposable (or even hobby) income, least of all avid “gamers” to dish out 700 euro, plus essential PC upgrades. Which essentially means VR will remain a limited marked for at least several years.

But right now I “own” a Samsung Galaxy A5 for little more than 20 euro a month, and an outdated Galaxy S5 I am not even using. I rarely use the samsung to call, which makes me wonder how the people who create contract bundles for smartphone users break even. A new one goes for 180$, wholesale, and I have a contract of a year, which is barely break even in terms of more computational technology than all of NASA had when I was born. In my back pocket, mind you.

Neverteheless – the future is bright for gaming, in particular 3D stereoscopic mixed VR/AR gaming. If you just extrapolate from the game Ingress it is completely obvious there is mass market for VR/AR/Geospatial games, especially ones with a very high locational granularity. I have used the example of VR/AR mixed wargames in parks, kids running around commanding their fantasy armies in pitched yet wholly consensual hallucinatory battles. I see a future for Warhammer there, selling imaginary and wholly animated 3D orcs, elves and dragon models, to be used ad infinitum in endless territorial wars. I don’t envy cops who will have to make sense of these kinds of activities.

I attended an event yesterday where I got to hear the ambitions of game and app designers, and it struck me, how much force is dammed up behind mobile platforms. For me, 99% of mobile games suck, but there are the first examples of mobile games advancing in to the complexity of games I’d use to play and enjoy in the early 90s. The limited factor is the unwieldy and small keypad, and the absurd small screen.

The moment people can functionally overlay AR and VR, and embed it in a very precise 3D coordinates mesh, it becomes possible to fuse physical drones, virtual co-location, augmented and enhanced spatiality, the computational capabilities of my upcoming PC (sponsor me if you like!) in to a single gaming whole. It can not be underestimate how deep this rabbit hole will go, but we’ve known that since well before 2005.

I would frankly love being able to do all things I currently do on my PC, using costomizable hand gestures and a high resolution 3D stereoscopic headset amplified with both VR and AR. I’d love playing a 2020 Eve Online in my local starbucks.

The only disappointment I currently face is that I have been saying pretty much the same thing since 2005. I am disappointed we don’t yet have the things that were completely obvious to me more than a decade ago – but I am even more disappointed that I have trouble thinking beyond these advances. I have some problems figuring out what’ll come after all of the above – so I suppose these technologies are a fairly big singular mountain to look beyond.