Ready Player One arrived in theaters in March. It’s a big deal. Especially for those of us in the virtual reality industry. We are hedging our bets that Ready Player One will show the world how amazing and useful virtual reality is. We are hoping it will show people what is possible for them to do with their own VR headsets.
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The story, written by Ernest Cline, follows Wade Watts, an eighteen-year-old student in 2045. Wade, along with most people in the world are living in a world stricken by global warming, overpopulation. and mass unemployment. His only escape is a virtual reality experience called the OASIS. The book starts when Wade finds himself in the middle of a game inside OASIS.
The game was created by James Haliday, who had announced on his deathbed that he had left something called an Easter egg inside OASIS. To find the egg, a player must find three keys and unlock three gates. The first person to find the Easter egg would inherit Halliday’s massive fortune and the entire corporation of OASIS. – supersummary.com
Side note: winning the game depends on the player’s expertise at 1980’s trivia.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish the book. I made it about halfway through before getting too frustrated with the main character and the writing. Wade is one of those main characters that everything comes too easy. He was so ingrained with 80’s knowledge that none of the challenges seemed to be actual challenges to him.
Wade isn’t the only person to use the OASIS as an escape from reality. Everyone does since the world is a dystopian future where people live in trailers stacked on top of each other. People work, go to school, and play all in the OASIS. They build upon their digital world instead of trying to fix their real one.
I think this is where the book and real life will differ. With virtual reality and imagination our engineers, designers, and creative thinkers can use VR to solve real-world problems. In VR, we can test and experiment, and bring those findings back to real life. Virtual reality has the potential to be an escape for the mind but, I see it as a tool to improve the human experience.
In the future, I doubt there will be only one virtual reality that everyone uses. We are discovering and inventing the products and services that people want to experience in virtual reality. Some of those are VR video games but others are the virtual classrooms like Wade attends. We will use VR software for analyzing and viewing charts and data in 3D, helping people in therapy, and more.
Virtual reality is part of life, not separate from it. By recognizing that, we can keep innovating and building upon VR technology to hopefully keep our world from becoming a dystopian one.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.