Some years ago while watching some GoPro footage I mused that in some distant future we would be able to not just watch a video of such footage, but be able to put on goggles and have it be as if we were there in that person’s head with them. In the last two years things have moved much closer to this becoming a reality, first with Glass and now with the Rift. Much of the focus on the Rift and other VR headsets has been on gaming and virtual environments, but its true potential I think lies in this concept of shared reality.
Mark Zuckerberg touched on this idea in his announcement of his acquisition Oculus VR, the makers of the Rift:
But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
This, I think, is the most important part of his statement. The Rift has the potential to be more than just a gaming platform, more than just a virtual reality platform, it has the potential to be the future of communication.