I’ve been to the last two IRL pre-Hive Fests so have been thinking about getting a VR Headset so I can take part in the upcoming virtual one in December 2020.
The only real option available to me is the Oculus Quest, a stand-alone device requiring no PC.
The Quest costs around £400, but is it worth it?
This post by @themarkymark was initially quite off putting, outlining the fact that you have to merge your Facebook account with the device in order to be able to log into it, and if you ever breach Facebook community guidelines you can be locked out of your device, being unable to use any of the games or apps you may have purchased.
Read the terms and conditions here if you like – they are pretty ‘Facebook surveillance extreme’:
You must have a Facebook account to log into the device or create one if you don’t have one.
You’re expected to use your ‘real’ Facebook account to log in to the device.
You’re not supposed to create a ‘burner’ account to access the device (apparently Facebook’s AI is quite on the case with this)
If you breach community standards you can be blocked from accessing the device (which you paid $400 for) – the main reason for this currently seems to be accessing it through a burner account….
You can’t use multiple accounts on one device, meaning one per person.
My first thought was ‘what the actual fuck’ this is straight up evil-corporation surveillance built-in redundancy bullshit, which it is, but there’s almost no chance of my getting banned because I use ‘Facebook’ in a very ‘legitimate’ way - I use it to publicise my main blog, I chat to people I know occasionally, and I’ve found some of the local Brits in Portugal groups really helpful. I don’t do politics on Facebook – it’s mostly business and local community stuff, so I’m pretty safe from a ban.
Further analysis of the Quest…
A while ago I outlined seven characteristics according to which I make an investment decision – this can be applied to any product or any activity. These criteria are as follows.
- Practical utility - how usable is the investment?
- Basic needs security - to what extent can I use the Vest to meet my basic needs for food, water, shelter etc?
- Theft security - how secure is it from malicious actors - such as The State, hackers or zombies?
- Store of value - how likely is it to not depreciate in the long-term?
- Return on investment - what is the potential for getting a return - either in terms of passive income or just a gain in value?
- Ethics - to what extent does it fit in with decentralisation, and sustainability for example?
- Personal affinity - this is a combination of how much I know about the investment and how far it just ‘clicks’ with me.
I’ve got to be honest it’s a mixed bag….
Practical utility – 6/10 (AND ?)
Judging the device on its own merits, this is the VR headset to go for – I don’t need a PC for it to work, it’s stand-alone.
HOWEVER, I have no idea whether it will work with a 4G connection! I’ve tried searching, but no reliable information. If it doesn’t obviously this score goes down to 0 for me and I won’t buy one!
Also, potentially moving onto land with solar power, I can’t imagine having that much power to spare in Winter for charging the quest. I can imagine it would use 100 Watts all by itself if I use it for a few hours every day.
Basic needs security – 2/10
It can’t feed me, keep me warm, cloth me, however, if it weren’t for the connections I made at especially pre-Hive fest 3 I wouldn’t be as successful as I am on Hive atm. Meeting people brings good things, and I see virtual meet ups as no different.
Theft security – 1/10
The device is very easy to steal – and factory reset I guess. And of course FB can steal it from me by locking me out, and it's not the kind of device I'd carry around with me or put in a safe, it's just slightly too large.
Store of value - how likely is it to not depreciate in the long-term? 2/10 (maybe 3/10)
If I wanted to sell it on in a year I doubt I’m going to make more than 50% of what I bought it for, so this is defo a depreciate over time purchase – use it or lose it!
Return on investment – 3/10
Well I suppose I could use the VR headset and Altspace to run online learning webinars in virtual space, and make a return that way, turn it towards educational uses, but the problem there is that while that sounds like fun in a way because it’s new, it really is still just ‘work’ and also I don’t imagine there are going to be too many students with VR headsets themselves atm.
I’m thinking maybe if I were to give it a couple of years until 2022, when headsets are cheaper and more people have access to them, this would be better for me.
Ethics - 0/10 for the Quest
Terrible - I mean here we are all on Hive banging on about decentralisation –the Quest is the total opposite of everything Hive stands for – you give all your data away to Facebook, give them $400 for a device and then they can just decide to ban you from using it with no justification on their part.
Personal affinity – 3/10
I quite like the idea of VR – but ATM it does take me away from my desire to get more face to facey and In real lifey!
This isn't taking into account ethics. If I did, this also goes down to zero, but like most people, I'm quite adept at putting my ethics on the shelf when I want to have a bit of fun.
Final Score and Thoughts - < 20/70
For me the rational decision is clearly to NOT buy a Quest and just go for the Hive-Fest experience in 2D, but then again it’s still tempting!
One isn't always rational after all!
Maybe I could make that £400 VR streaming on Hive?!?
If it drops to £300 on Black Friday, I'd be tempted too!
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