Research has shown that just over 40% of online gamers admit they play in an effort to escape reality. Video game addiction is often joked about because, news as it is, it sounds like BS. But it is real, as real as gambling or food addiction and triggers the same pleasure and reward zones of the brain.
In Japan, over 5400 people are what is referred to as “Net café refugees.”These people literally spend nearly all day everyday living in internet cafes playing online games. They make money by beating other players and they shower right in the facility.
In 2014 a Korean couple made international headlines after being so immersed in the game Prius Online, a kind of Second Life RPG type game, that they’re real life daughter died because they neglected her so badly.
Now imagine this same world, with video game addicts, net café refugees and parents so neglectful their children die while they play a game in the next room, only now virtual reality is a thing. Video games are now that much more immersive, intense and involving.
According to reviews of the Oculus Rift, the technology really is everything it’s been hyped to be. Sure it’s expensive right now, but CD players were about $1000 when they first appeared in the 1980s. DVD players were the same. Now you can buy one at Wal Mart for about $25. The price of VR will come down. And people will use it as the ultimate escape.
Imagine the World of Warcraft when you’re not just playing a bad ass level 100 night elf rogue, you ARE the bad ass level 100 night elf rogue. You move and he moves. You kill and he kills. In that world. He’s your avatar and how people recognize you. For a hardcore gaming nerd, that’s super appealing.
And this is just the first and most limited aspect of what Oculus can offer us. How much fun would shopping on Amazon be if you could put your VR goggles and take a walk through a virtual store? And how necessary would it be in the future to move across country to go to college when you can attend virtual classes from anywhere in the world and be taught physics by Stephen Hawking, or English by Cormac McCarthy?
Or, in a pinch, by Dean Koontz’s hair
With advances in robotics you’ll soon enough be able to work numerous jobs virtually. Doctors can and have already performed a number of procedures remotely with the use of computers and robotic arms, virtual reality will open the field up to numerous other procedures. You won’t need to wait for a specialist or fly across the world to find one, you’ll just have to wait for them to finish their coffee.
Everything you need or want will soon be available virtually, or very nearly. Will we all become hooked up zombies? Of course not. But remember those people who are already too busy playing games to live real life. Those people are the ones who will fall hard for VR, and more people on the edge right now who like gaming, and like being online all the time, but still haven’t quite found that thing to push them into it as an addiction. This is what’s going to do it. A virtual paradise for everyone that some people will not want to leave.
We know what the internet has to offer today, what games and shopping and entertainment there is out there. Once virtual reality becomes the standard way for us to experience it, the world is going to change. No hyperbole there, just a prediction based on a lot of observation. The question is will we be able to control it, or is VR going to be the thing controlling us in 10 years? Remember, the porn industry is going to be getting in on this, too.