I get a bit nervous before speaking in front of a large group of people, but once I’m up there everything is usually fine. So it was an odd feeling in the Speech Center experience on Gear VR to find myself up on stage and feeling so uneasy in front of an audience that I looked around behind me, worried someone might come up and scare me. After all, the fires of hell seemed to be flickering behind audience members with red glowing eyes staring menacingly at me.
I’m not being metaphorical. That’s pretty much what I saw during the first few minutes inside Speech Center.
The simulation must be close to the worst possible engagement for a public speaker — addressing an audience of actual demons. I suppose if you can overcome such a worst case scenario in virtual reality then future engagements in the real world won’t seem anywhere near as intimidating.
Speech Center offers speaking tips and allows people to upload their presentations and practice them in VR. Originally a $30,000 winner on the Oculus Mobile VR Jam, the app is available now and lets you record your voice so you can check your performance. There are also audio distractions like coughing or a phone ringing to create a realistic environment.
Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) is a common issue for many people and this app might be your ticket to overcoming it. That is, if the red eyes of hell don’t scar you for life. For me, the next time I go on stage I can see myself thinking back on that moment and laughing.