I got an email today (actually, two emails) breathlessly alerting me to the fact that Friday’s presidential inauguration will be the first to be broadcast in virtual reality. Now, you should know: I’m a big fan of VR, as I think it can take us to fun, amazing places with an immersive nature no other tech can. But as someone who writes about it a lot, you can imagine that I get these kinds of emails all the time. And I’m here to tell you: I’m no longer impressed by your “first in VR” project.
That’s not to say that I will never again be excited about something taking place in VR for the first time. But there are two major problems—and anyone who’s covered a nascent technology will recognize them: First (pun intended): It’s very often not at all true that the project is the first time someone’s done something; the developer (or marketer) simply didn’t bother to verify their claim. #FakeNews! Second, even if it is the first, so what? Consumer VR only became a real thing in 2015, and there hasn’t been an inauguration since then, so of course this is the first one in VR. But more to the point, everything is in VR these days. The technology may not be truly mainstream yet, but it is maturing, and that means concerts, sporting events, presidential debates, classes, etc, etc, etc. are all being broadcast, often live, in virtual reality. The very fact of that is no longer something worth shouting from the rooftops, in my humble opinion, because it’s to be expected.
I’m not at all saying that people should stop developing these projects. They should. I’m just saying that we should no longer be expected to get excited just because something is done in VR. Instead, let’s work on better-quality VR projects. That, I’ll get excited about.
[Photo: Flickr user Marius Eisenbraun]DT