Infinite, boundless, and endless levels of ethereal experiences; a world where the only limit is your imagination and the universe, your oyster. A malleable reality where you can live any life you imagine. These thoughts ran rampant in Ernest Cline’s mind as he sat brainstorming ideas for the new novel, Ready Player One. The book presents an incredible virtual environment called the OASIS, which can be compared to the ideal virtual world that the Virtual Reality (VR) community hopes to realize in the next few years. Following the movie adaptation of the novel, thought-provoking ideas were sparked, and a heightened interest in virtual reality across the tech world developed in a bid to bring the fictional OASIS to life.
The Feasibility of a Virtual World Like the OASIS
The movie depicts a universe where virtual reality explorers visit to experience the full potential of VR technology but ultimately settle down to call this place (the OASIS) home. In reference to the movie, several hypotheses can be drawn on what the OASIS is. These include seeing the OASIS as a multiverse with thousands of independent realities rolled into one space, a playground that spans tens of light years apart, or a virtual galaxy brought together by the cumulative sum of human ingenuity over the years. But the question still stands: Could such a fantasy world actually exist?
The realistic prospects for an OASIS-style virtual environment can not be as simple as a yes or no. It’s impossible to say yes right now because we simply don’t have the means to create a world on par with the OASIS because the technology, materials, and tools necessary to achieve this are still in their infancy. But then again, it is not a dead end as the groundwork in favor of this cause already forecasts a future where the OASIS is real.
Before drawing the curtains on the feasibility of Ready Player One in the real world, let us explore the parallels that exist between the tech in the fiction and the tech that is readily available today. For example, the central character Wade Watts uses a VR headset that is light, comfortable to wear, and a stand-alone device with lifelike visuals. In contrast, a good number of VR headsets we currently have are cumbersome, have to be tethered to a computer that serves the processing function, and lack the cutting-edge visuals that are right now a mere aspiration.
The movie also stars a full-body Haptic Suit and Gloves that allows the user to interact entirely with their immediate virtual environment responding to stimuli in touch and making contact with other virtual objects as if they were real. Today, there are no sci-fi haptic suits, as seen in the movie, but the foundational designs for these wearables already show a lot of promise.
While all this can be a bit discouraging, its feasibility isn’t totally out of mind or out of reach as we are now seeing high-end VR headsets made available that don’t require a wired connection, such as the HTC Vive, Valve’s SteamVR, and the Meta Quest 2 which presents a more evolved standalone VR headset that has an excellent display, a powerful built-in processor and the option to use with or without a tethering accessory cable. Also, Apple’s getting their hands in the mix with the upcoming 8K VR/AR goggles that won’t require a cable to operate. This introduces comfort and better mobility. Also, pioneering companies like BHaptics and Haptx are working on wearables and standalone haptic technology that may look and feel similar to the gear featured in Ready Player One. With one of its latest releases, BHaptics introduced the BHaptics Tactglove that provides a much more immersive interaction for the user with precision-point haptic feedbacks that are comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and made of flexible material like seen on Wade Watts in Ready Player One. Additionally, there is an ongoing development of inside-out tracking that will enable realistic body movements to be transmitted in VR without needing additional hardware. This is very much like the virtual reality shown in the film. Still, again, this kind of technology is currently not readily accessible for widespread adoption in the real world, but it is a step in the right direction of a bright future for VR.
VR has taken a leap in the transmigration of regular VR headsets to multisensory VR masks that have the all-in-one immersive experience for users. Feelreal has stepped forward with the intention of creating a multisensory face mask that looks like something of a hyperspace movie that can let users engage other senses of smell, wind vibrations, heat, and pressure. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Granted, there are challenges and hurdles to jump with bringing all this to fruition while making them scalable, accessible, and affordable, but this is not impossible.
The Metaverse-VR Conundrum
Virtual reality at the moment is devoid of the vantages that the metaverse can provide despite the fact that merging VR and the Metaverse might make VR experience much more immersive. Virtual reality (VR) refers to the idea of a digital space where users can interact with each other and their immediate digital surroundings. At the same time, the metaverse brings on a decentralized model that runs on a 3D plane to govern the affairs of the digital space, much like a virtual economy, as we saw in the OASIS. Though superficially similar, the two ideas function quite differently on a deep level.
Many people have a false impression that the metaverse is only about video games as it is often advertised, but in reality, it will modify many other industries, including commerce, communication, education, entertainment, and even transportation. From the movie, we see how vital a virtual economy is and how it seems to have a direct influence on reality.
The metaverse is the key to bringing this part of Ready Player One to be. The collaboration between VR and the metaverse run by blockchain technology opens up an entire virtual world of opportunities that we have never experienced before.
The Bottlenecks in Bringing an OASISverse to Reality
The drive is there, and the zest to create a virtual world like the OASIS is still very much the mission statement, but there are a couple of challenges that pose hindrances to seeing this come true.
Firstly, VR still has a mile to go with breaking into the entertainment market. Virtual reality presents an almost uncontested market opportunity for businesses. This slows down the growth and widespread use of virtual and augmented reality systems. True believers and technophiles are the primary consumers of this innovation. Further, there is a dearth of practical business plans. Tech companies lack solid performance standards and a clear vision for where they want the industry to go due to a lack of workable and cost-effective business models. However, the situation is getting better as the use cases for VR are expanding beyond the realm of games and entertainment; with VR, there are almost boundless levels of innovation.
Secondly, users are provided with limited choices. Since there aren’t very many headsets or VR systems on the market, particularly in the high-end device class, consumers have fewer options. But with the recent developments seen in creating much better VR hardware, one of which might break the market and buy over the interest of users, it might trigger numerous companies to be on their toes and release even better variations.
Thirdly, the practicability of a real-world OASIS begs the question of mass adoption. The more users of VR tech, the more the VR content will improve. There are only a small number of VR content platforms, and there isn’t nearly as much VR material as there could be. If regular use is encouraged, necessity will be the order of the day, and the innovations will be at an all-time high.
Finally, there is the question of “how much?” Affordability is an important factor to consider as the numbers for these VR hardware and software are astronomically high. This can discourage regular use as opposed to what is seen in Ready Player One, where almost everybody has access to gear, inferring that it costs almost nothing to secure a VR headset. Currently, VR is on a path to justify its development costs to potential users by exploring different areas that will reduce the budget bulk to attract potential users. So while innovation is crucial to bringing the OASIS to life, it is important that the tech pioneers of VR must make their plans scalable, accessible, and affordable to encourage use.
Although technological progress over the years has been tremendous, there is still much ground to cover. Now that the digital age has arrived, the term “virtual reality” is bandied about by tech experts and casual fans alike. The dream of creating a seamless virtual reality environment like Cline’s OASIS is still in genesis. It’s a matter of time, really. Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way and might very soon present a real-world Ready Player One replica. It’s not completely improbable; all it takes is a little more time and focus.
About Victoria VR — www.victoriavr.com
Victoria VR is a revolutionary Blockchain-based Virtual Reality Metaverse. Powered by Unreal Engine and featuring realistic, highly detailed graphics, it combines a massively-multiplayer-online role-playing game (MMORPG) with a unique Social Experience Playground.
Like never before, players will be immersed in a virtual reality world where they get to live their digital life. Whether you want to Play games, Develop your digital real estate (VR Land), Own a business, Work up or Get some entertainment, your imagination is the only limitation.