The Quickening… Or How VR is Taking Over My Life (In a Good Way)

Kent Bye of the Voices of VR podcast has pointed out; Metcalfe’s law (the networks value increasing as the network interconnection complexity increases) will eventually make web VR more useful than current “walled garden” apps on Oculus or Steam.

However we are currently getting the best social, emotional, physical and mental presence in these very same walled garden apps. And while some do very well in one or more of these domains, BeatSaber for example, many do not.

But what is this got to do with How VR is Taking Over my Life? Well it goes a little something like this… Hit it!

Today I went to my favorite competitive badminton night, grabbed my racquet and hit the court. Half way into my first game I nearly walked out, and I love badminton! Especially at the high level of play. What made me want to give up and go home you might wonder? Simple: My very own esports VR killer app dream come true; Echo Arena.

Goodbye Badminton Hello Endorphins

Ready at Dawn Studios has done an amazing job with this game. It is, in my opinion, the best game in VR right now. Lets look at the features of it for a moment and then unpack how it is benefiting/taking over my life after that!

Kent Bye talks about the different domains of presence in VR. Echo Arena has them in spades! The inverse kinematics when you grab an object and the fingers behave normally, the physics of zero G flight, the grab the world and pull it toward you movement mechanic, the social aspect, the mental growth of playing disc-boxing basketball in zero G, the learning curve, the potential for becoming better in each game, the thrill of winning, the camaraderie, the constant switching from team-to-team, the graphics, the mini games, the avatar customization, the sound integration, it all works to make zero G disc basketball MORE interesting than my favorite real reality RR sport.

One of Kent’s podcast guests said, “There is no shame in moving to NY or LA from a small town for the sizzle, the excitement and even the danger”. No one faults anyone for this, yet we still look down on those who find VR more interesting than RR. I even do it a bit and I am a bona-fide paid VR evangelist!

Then it happened; the RR sport that I played and loved my whole life wasn’t as good as my VR eSport! I literally felt it in my body. The endorphin payout wasn’t going to be as good here IRL and my rat brain knew it!

So what does this mean? Well for one thing, with the rise of persistent social VR spaces like SomniumSpace.com, the hyper connected social VR gaming areas like RecRoom from Oculus, the VR geek areas in HiFidelity and the meme generating machine that is VRChat there are more options than ever before to socialize, dance, learn, play, talk, listen to music, watch movies and generally have a great time without leaving your home!

And as Cris Miranda from the EnterVR podcast has mentioned the real world is much more immediate, clear and immersive after being in VR for a while. I have noticed similar effects when emerging from a sensory deprivation float tank. Colors are brighter, sounds are crisper and my mind is refreshed.

I haven’t noticed the mental clarity aspect as much after VR immersion but certainly I notice how nice the texture maps are, how the lighting works so well and the textures are so… detailed!

Anyway, I play a lot of Echo Arena right now, that and Beat Saber for an even more intense workout. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, my brain is growing new neural pathways, I’m making new friends around the world and even though VR is taking over part of my life its totally OK!

So come out on Tuesday night and enjoy the steep learning curve (I’ve played more than 140 games and only scored during play 6 times!), the amazing IK and the fun that is Echo Arena or stop by and visit me at work in SomniumSpace, we can go bowling, shoot some hoops or just geek out about why land ownership and persistence is good for social VR. With any luck it too will be “better than RR soon too!” And my DM’s are open for all VR stuff too!

Community Manager/Evangelist @ SomniumSpace.com, VR tester @ FishBowlVR, firefighter, , Internet marketer dad, business owner. You know, the simple life!