Is Virtual Reality really isolating? Here at Laduma, we believe it depends on your perception – but let’s not stop there.
A report from Brand experience agency Amplify has taken a look at the attitudes of users aged 18-30 towards VR. And there’s one key point that catches the eye.
Although there has been a shift towards emphasising how VR can be a social experience with apps such as VR Chat or Facebook Spaces, half of those surveyed responded with the belief that VR could make them more isolated and anti-social.
So let’s look at two of the main ways that VR is experienced.
The VR headset encloses users in a virtual world, shut away from outside influences. It gives much greater focus to the task in hand, especially in a training environment.
But what if that virtual environment is a social one as well? VR Chat and Facebook Spaces are making huge strides in terms of bringing people together using VR.
The hardware of course, is developing all the time. Imagine a VR headset that is no bigger than a pair of regular glasses. Throw in Augmented Reality capability and that ‘cool factor’ no longer seems so far out of reach.
Then there are VR domes like Laduma’s CaVRn. At 22ft in diameter, CaVRn allows groups of people to experience 360° video in a single, physical space. VR domes are anything but isolating and give users the opportunity to share something that was previously only available in a headset.
Ben Smith, CEO of Laduma, says: “Isolation in VR can be a great thing. In the experiences we’ve had with training, one of the great strengths of VR is that it isolates people, so there is greater focus and retention of information.
“But we have also seen success with CaVRn, our VR dome. It brings people together, so they have a shared experience around a VR film. We have seen that become hugely popular with brands, who want to be a reason why people come together.”
Tommy Pickersgill, Lead Developer at Laduma, also believes VR experienced through headsets can be isolating – but that may be not be a bad thing.
He explains: “If we look at headphones and how people use them to escape from reality or zone out to focus on tasks, then I believe as VR headsets become more socially accepted and smaller, they will be up there as a tool to experience richer levels of escapism and deeper levels of productivity.”
Clearly, isolation is very much one of the keys to the success of VR.