Former Valve VR specials warns against the Technology’s Future

Former Valve VR specials warns against the Technology’s Future

As reported by Eurogamer on Monday, July 14, former virtual reality specialist and Valve contributor Fabian Giesen has claimed to have seen where the re-emerging technology is headed, and so he has warned against its future.

In a lengthy post written on his GitHub page, Giesen expressed that he is “ deeply ambivalent ” about virtual reality “ for several reasons. ” He has no qualms with the technology as a concept, according to Eurogamer, but he is worried virtual reality will be used primarily as a monetisation tool in MMORPGs.

The endpoint of VR, ” Giesen wrote in his post,” seems to be fundamentally anti-social, completing the sad trajectory of entertainment moving further and further away from shared social experiences. (As I have mentioned multiple times, I find the limited, formalised, abstracted and ultimately alienated social interactions in most forms of online gaming to be immensely off-putting).

I’m not a fan of online gaming in general, and as such the inevitable framing of VR as the gateway to the ultimate MMORPG (which is what tends to happen) is a sore point for me, ” he added. ” I prefer my social interactions to be in person if possible, and so far what of it made it into online games is just incredibly basic… Certainly, it’s easy to imagine an interactive environment with a richer set of interactions than voice chat and going on raids.”

According to Eurogamer, Giesen claimed that his years in the video game industry gave him a clear idea as to where the technology behind virtual reality is going, and joked that “ [it’s not some] scary vague futuristic concept that I decided to be scared about after reading too much cyberpunk books.

When I say that I think ‘VR is bad news’, I am talking specifically about the VR-enabled MMORPG-esque shared universes that cyberpunk has promised us, not about the much wider and more open-ended concept of ‘things we might be able to do with working VR headsets once they exist’. And lest I be accused of setting up a strawman here, the VR MMORPG universe really is what a lot of VR enthusiasts are hoping for, and simultaneously what a lot of really smart people working on VR have repeatedly (and publicly) declared to be their goal for VR.

Having an immersive virtual environment – hey, MMORPGs even without VR get people to sink lots of time into them, and if anything that’s probably gonna be more pronounced in the VR version – that is set up to, ultimately, generate ad revenue (and hence prioritise the needs of the advertisers over the desires of its users) is just an inherently gross concept to me, ” Giesen went on.

So imagine a shared universe MMORPG, expressly operated by a company that *already knows all your friends*, that’s trying to maximize your engagement (‘hey, all your friends are playing right now, don’t you want to join too?’), selling your attention to advertisers, and by the way, also building a detailed profile on everything you do so they can do all of this even better in the future. It’s okay, go on doing whatever you want, we just want to watch! (Through your own eyeballs if possible).

You can read Fabian Giesen’s post on the matter in full via the second source link below. We’ll bring you more news on virtual reality should further information reach our ears.

[ Eurogamer / GitHub ]

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