There are lots of different experiences you can have in virtual reality, and really I don’t think that you can say you truly know what VR is until you have tried most of them. To that end, I propose the concept of the VR Passport - a single place or sheet where you collect stamps for each category of experience, and once you have the full collection of stamps, you can be confident that you are a seasoned traveller and are starting to know the medium.
I feel like I’ve been trying to introduce people to new technology all my life. Computers, video games, the internet, the world wide web, smart phones, augmented reality, 3D printing… you name it, at some stage over probably the last 40 years I’ve been spouting on about it to someone!
Since VR was available to the public in the nineties I’ve tried it a few times, but it wasn’t until Google created Cardboard in 2014 that I felt that VR was becoming accessible to the masses and I started to get excited about it. But while Google Cardboard, and the many other cheap and disposable equivalents, are great for allowing people to experience VR, the experience that they offer is so vastly inferior to true 6 DoF VR on the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, that it is almost like a completely different medium. And worse, I’ve found that often when someone has tried a Google Cardboard-like headset they lose their curiosity about virtual reality and expect that it is all the same as what they have seen.
A New Class of Experience
But these days I feel that if you haven’t experienced 6 DoF VR in a wireless headset like the Oculus Quest, then you haven’t really experienced the medium. And, the more I think of it, if you haven’t had a range of VR experiences - including creating some 3D art in Tilt Brush, teleporting to random parts of the world in Wander and getting that weightless feeling in your stomach in Epic Roller Coasters - then you don’t have enough data to know if you like it or not.
So, I’ve been thinking of creating a VR Passport as a way of encouraging people to experience all aspects Virtual Reality. The idea being to have a list of experiences that we believe everyone should try, and to give stamps or badges each time a person completes an experience until they fill up the whole passport.
Must Have Experiences
My thoughts on an initial list of must-have experiences, and some examples of apps to get them in are as follows.
Of course that list is just for starters, and there should be some Art experiences (Museum of Other Realities?), and definitely running through things like the excellent Oculus First Steps app should be a must.
But I think it is a useful idea. A framework to encourage everyone to try out even just a few minutes of each class of experience. Once they have done that, they can truly make an informed decision about VR, and hopefully even go on to create some amazing content or build a great business on the platform in the future.
Please share your thoughts on the idea or suggestions for additions to the list on Twitter using hashtag #vrpassport.