In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz at the Mixed Reality Summit, part of the London Games Festival 2017, Niantic CEO John Hanke has expressed his concerns about VR technology. Hanke believes that VR will become “too good” and something that people will get addicted to, especially children. He worries enough, apparently, that his own children are playing too much Minecraft as it is and that they don’t go outside nearly as often as they should.
Hanke seems to be envisioning the future featured in WALL-E, where technology has provided us with so many comforts, that we don’t bother actually interacting with each other. Or perhaps it is The Matrix he is more worried about, where people choose happy illusion for dark reality. Though with certain politics in certain countries (Blade Runner, here we come), I wouldn’t blame anyone for preferring VR over facing reality.
Not to be hypocritical, Hanke explains that AR (augmented reality) is completely different and has the “potential to do things that really do have a positive impact on people.” Hanke uses Pokémon Go as an example, a game that has encouraged a mass amount of people to get outside and be active. Something that according to Hanke, VR simply cannot do.
Now, Hanke is still being a tiny bit hypocritical here because he’s talking about AR on a mobile device, not a headset like Microsoft’s HoloLens which uses AR technology and not VR. AR is behind VR a bit, as it has thus far been marketed as design and development tool more than a gaming console.
That said, what is truly the difference between sitting at home with an AR headset, and a VR one? Is AR only allowed to be on mobile devices like your phone? Hasn’t that already proven to come with it’s own set of hazards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!