Sweeney has been a huge proponent of a more believable metaverse for some time now. A big part of that is apparently the introduction of more human-like avatars with more believable interactions in VR.
According to Sweeney, “What we need are inward and outward facing cameras that scan your body. That’s what’s missing. That technology has already been proven to work at a high-end commercial level costing tens of thousands of dollars. It’s probably as little as three years away.”
These cameras would operate like enhanced versions of more gimmicky video game devices like the Microsoft Kinect. Their use in VR would be to increase our ability to communicate non-verbally and recognize individual personalities, in addition to these sorts of social upgrades.
Right now, the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR can track the position of your head and hands in 3D space. The Rift allows for some simple articulation of the fingers with Touch but, for the most part, our ability to physically interact in VR is limited. Even in this restricted state, however, experiences like Facebook Spaces are showing just how powerful even the semblance of body language can be for VR communications and socialization. Increasing these things to the level Sweeney describes could lead to some massively transformative capabilities.
In addition to beefing up our social capabilities with enhanced body tracking, Sweeney also believes that leaps in deep learning technology will also allow VR to host experiences that put traditional gaming to shame.
“That’s going to open entirely new kinds of game scenarios,” said Sweeney. “Today’s best role-playing games aren’t at all convincing. They aren’t even trying to approach reality. But once we have deep learning and input, we’ll be able to do much more advanced interactions beyond just killing monsters.”
Here’s hoping these predictions come true.