Why socializing in Virtual Reality will be much more than socializing – The future of Social VR
Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics said the renowned Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk. With Virtual Reality at disposal, there is literally no limit to the kind of creativity human beings can endure into. Like all amazing technologies, the real potential can be known only when it becomes a common element in our daily life. But nevertheless, it is more than fair from our part to have a look at some of the future prospects of Virtual Reality when it comes to online socializing.
Virtual World as a stage for real world activities
It’s a holiday and you feel like playing a game of soccer. It takes few hours for you and your buddies to get together in the nearest playground in the real physical world. Instead, you send a quick message through a platform like Facebook Messenger and invite your friends to join you. You can select a location of your choice, maybe even the Maracana Stadium and your friends, wherever they are, can play with you! When VR expands its horizon to social networks, we might soon shift most of our real world activities like this to the virtual world.
You are not very good at cooking and you need the help of your Mother who is in London. You can just text her to join your cooking session and help you complete the cuisine. Individuals, families, corporates, government organizations and even educational institutions can set up virtual meetings and conferences to discuss and share ideas. You feel like singing and you would like if some of your friends were present. With just a tap, you could invite whoever you want and sing in front of them. You have just bought a brand new car and you would like to show it to your family far away. Within seconds, they will be with you. You are shopping in a virtual store and would like some advice from your friends. You can easily let them join you and help complete your purchase. If you feel uncomfortable, you will even be able to join in conversations with your healthcare specialists. Similarly, depending on your state of mind, you can join a disco party or take inputs from a group preparing to face a competitive exam. In other words, you can replicate all the things you do in real life and even more!
Live VR streaming
We are already familiar with the impact of live video streaming in the social media world. When Virtual worlds gain more and more popularity in social networking, we could even see live streaming of events taking place in the Virtual Reality environment. For example, Syfy and its parent company NBC launched a 15 episode Hybrid Television/VR series called ‘Halcyon’. The first 10 episodes of this procedural cop series were broadcasted in standard 2D on Syfy’s television channels and web outlets and the other five were presented as Virtual Reality experiences. In the immersive experience, users were able to interact with clues and were able to actively take part in solving the mystery of the show with guidance from the voiceover of show’s principal characters. The show also featured a live premiere for the fans and the fans were able to hang out with the avatars of cast and crew after the show in the virtual reality space. So, you could stay in Los Angeles and watch a Virtual Reality screening of a movie or a show in New York and then later hang out with the avatars of the characters and then stream it on the social network! This can be put to a wide variety of uses. University students can live stream a virtual conference by a dignified foreign professor to students all around the world. Similarly, virtual parties, events and shows can also be showcased to the entire world at the very same time.
User Generated Content
In the present scenario, online socializing happen in predefined templates. You cannot create any space or world of your own. With Virtual Reality, that is exactly the power a user would possess. You could define the world that you want to move around. Imagine, creating planets and creatures in a Star Wars kind of galaxy and inviting friends to join you! You could create a page for your own virtual world and fans can instantly get into that world the moment they visit it. Now imagine the kind of worlds you could create and the kind of socializing that could happen. You could create a world for almost anything. If you are a fan of books, you could open a virtual library and invite fellow readers. They could come in and enjoy your unique collection. In a similar way, you can open a movie or a music store. If you are a student, you can open groups for every subject that you have. Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History and anything. You could walk into the physics group and see virtual demos explaining gravity and theory of relativity. You could go to history groups and see the rise and fall of civilizations. You could go into Biology groups and learn the anatomy of different beings. If you are a sports fan you can create groups for Football, Cricket, Hockey, Basketball, Baseball etc. You could display your sports accessories, play games with your friends and even watch live screenings. If you are an ocean or underwater explorer, you can even set underwater worlds and invite fellow enthusiasts to discuss and explore. You can setup virtual space stations and learn more about astronomy! The possibilities are just endless.
It’s not about Profile, It’s about You
So you decide to get into a social network today. What are some things you have to complete before you can smoothly access it. Ideally, you have to fill up a long list of options ranging from your educational details to your job, likes, interests and hobbies. Once you have entered all this your ‘profile’ is ready. Now, you can view what others are upto from your profile. In the virtual reality driven social networking, you will not have to remain as an outsider. If you want to check out a photo uploaded by one of your friends, you can totally explore it as if the picture is alive and in front of you. The future socializing will not be of viewing. It will be of experiencing. So, if your friend has just posted a video of his skydive, you could actually be in a 360 environment exploring his adventure. Your activity in the virtual environment will determine your likes and hobbies. You will not have to pre-specify it. Today, you see someone is online and try to give him a text or make a video call. In the future, you could simply go to his environment, probably pat on his shoulders and ask “what’s up buddy”. Socializing has to be a personal experience. That’s how human beings cherish their need for belonging. With Virtual Reality, online socializing is bound to get more personalized than ever.
Remember Tom Cruise’s Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster ‘Minority Report’. Remember the newspaper that broadcasts instant and live updates? The content in the device that you carry changes from minute to minute. This reality is not too far away! A lot can happen when you are in a Metaverse. Your favorite team might have just won a match in the NBA. Or a world famous chemist might have visited your virtual laboratory and gave you a Hello! Or you are a history enthusiast and there is a History exhibition going on. Someone tried to play a prank inside the gallery and got caught. Your favorite musician is composing a new album. There is a new update from scientists who had deployed robots into MARS. There is a new experiment conducted in a newly found footmarks of dinosaur. Each and every update from around the world connected to your interests and likes will reach you the minute it happens! You can also prefer not to get any updates surrounding a particular topic. Suppose you are not a big fan of rugby. Or non vegetarian food. You can comfortably ignore them and you will hardly receive anything that you don’t like to see or hear!
Explore the unexplored and strengthen your weaknesses
You are working with a tech giant but you are not that big a tech savvy. Or all your friends are soccer lovers but you don’t know much about the game. You might have had this feel of being left out during a conversation. You might want to do better at your workplace or at your university. In an interactive and immersive online socializing future, there will not be any sphere where you cannot get a help from. You can simply walk into a virtual store and improve your knowledge about a particular technology so that the next time there is a company meeting, you could score like everyone else. You might be weak in physics and the subject is ruining your overall grades. You can get in touch with worldwide experts and take part in simple yet efficient methods to improve your knowledge regarding the subject. Similarly, you can get in depth knowledge about any star or planet in the universe or the deep underwater surfaces. There will remain no world that is unexplored. There will not be any limitation that cannot be surpassed. That could well be our future.