“There’s something about VR that brings people together,” Karl Krantz’s words echoed over a crowd of 1400+ through the main hall at San Jose’s convention center this morning to open SVVR. There is a lot of talk about how virtual reality can be an isolating experience, one that separates people – but the truth is the virtual reality community is one of the strongest I have ever been a part of. Which is what makes Matt Apfel’s opening keynote on the community of VR all the more poignant.
If virtual reality is going to succeed it is going to be because each and every one of you reading this sentence willed it to succeed. The late nights, the long stretches of work with no monetary reward, the people telling us we are crazy – these are all the things that make you a pioneer and an evangelist for something amazing. As a VR community we know this and embrace it, which is why we have all come together in such a way. But as strong as this community is it needs to continue to grow – and that’s where you come in.
“Every GearVR has been on at least ten heads” – John Carmack, GDC 2015.
Carmack’s words at GDC are all the more poignant now, at this key time in the industry. Virtual reality is inherently sharable, it takes us to places we want to go and makes us want to share that with everyone around us. When you think about any communication platform – be it cave paintings, language, the printed word, anything – it speaks to something that is central to the human experience, storytelling. As a species, we have always been – and hopefully always will be storytellers. When early man gathered around campfires, they would regale each other with tales of their conquests – today we post a facebook status.
VR is about sharing amazing experiences with people in the most visceral way possible, the continued evolution of man as a storyteller. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder how many a full VR experience is worth?
The truth is virtual reality may in fact be the ultimate storytelling medium. We tell stories to bring others closer to our own world – to give them a taste of something outside of their experience. That very act is the act of identification – the coming together of two or more people. SVVR is the physical manifestation of the power that virtual reality has to bring people together, now it’s up to us to make it happen.
Feature image courtesy of Daniel Voyager