John Carmack On The Future Of VR: 'Initial Wonder' Isn't Good Enough

John Carmack was once the go-to guy (and kind-of still is) when it came to doing anything 3D and now, he's leading the charge into virtual reality at Oculus. To say he knows what he's talking about is an understatement, so when he declares that VR is currently "coasting on novelty", it's best to sit and listen.

It's a statement Carmack made during his keynote at this year's Oculus Connect conference, which you can check out yourself on Twitch. While Carmack is all for a future where having a VR headset is no longer the exception, Gamasutra's Alex Wawro picked up on this more pragmatic tidbit:

"We are coasting on novelty, and the initial wonder of being something people have never seen before. But we need to start judging ourselves, not on a curve, but in an absolutely sense," he said. "Can you do something in VR that has the same value, or more value, than what these other [non-VR] things have done?"

Carmack also revealed that "at least half" of today's virtual reality experiences are "more passive" in nature and that a lot of time and research will likely go into making VR interactions as natural as possible, to help adoption of the technology:

I'm suspecting the next thing that's going to play out similarly to this is about hand and finger tracking, where we have a bunch of high-end research working on different ways with dedicated hardware and very specialised recognition algorithms. ... I do think that's the end goal for the billion users in VR is you have your simple thing and you do your basic touching interactions and your controllers are for the more dedicated experiences.

If you'd like to watch Carmack's full keynote, the hour-and-a-half talk can be found below.

'We are coasting on novelty': Carmack advises VR devs to build better mobile VR apps [Gamasutra]


    the greatest value I have for my HMD atm is playing dirt rally and elite.... without the headset would not be acceptable anymore..

    streetview is boss as well.... as well as streaming 360 vids

    its just the resolution is so poor it makes you want a 4k HMD asap

    Last edited 08/10/16 2:44 pm

    I liked this part:
    "What would Nintendo do?"

    Just like I've said many times...VR is still a novelty, just like the Wii was. It's fun for a bit but then you get sick of it and want to go back to what you had before.

    I remember when my wife's uncle bought a Wii for their kids, I recommended that he buy an Xbox or PlayStation because the kids would get bored with the Wii in a few weeks...he went with the Wii. Sure enough, they got bored with the Wii and kept asking for an Xbox. They now have an Xbox.

    all the vr naysayers will be on the bandwagon sure enough and claim to they had the vision to see it was going to be a revolution.

      We just have to be careful, because Carmack actually has a point here. "We are coasting on novelty".
      VR can and will be a revolution. That revolution could be soon, if we play it right and start providing unique and valuable experiences. If we don't, the hype will die and it might be some time before the revolution really begins.

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