Pondering the Metaverse with Oculus Quest 2
Nothing excites me more than being a test subject for the next step of
Facebook's Meta's fantasy world.
TL;DR, I just love putting it on, getting Zucked and dreaming about how much better getting Zucked will soon be.
Just put me back in my jerk off machine and leave me the fuck alone!
Disclaimer: To be honest, I haven't used my VR thingy for any sexual activity (yet).
But, that isn't for lack of trying. It's just so awesome, I have better things to do. If only it wasn't so fun. Please! Let me get bored of it already! I want to explore its more sinful potential.
That quote is a real thing I said to a real person who likes to go on rants about Marxism, conspiracy theories and other mostly philosophical problems. He knows what he is talking about (given the subjects), so I like listening.
I can't remember if he was warning me about the metaverse, VR/AR domination by IT giants, or the dangers of listening to professionals, but I wasn't in the mood. I wanted to enter the sweet VR world only my Oculus Quest provides.
Actually now that I think about it more, it was related to some crypto stuff (yeah big surprise he liked cryptocurrency back when the silkroad was fun). The other day he shared an article link about how the hard limit for BTC wasn't actually 21 million and in theory, it could be changed without consensus. There are some theories that quantum computing attacks that could do this far easier than cracking SHA-256 (private keys). Needless to say the topic is really fucking boring.
Meanwhile, in VR, I can play golf whenever, change the room I'm sitting in, go to space, etc. For a $500 machine, the graphics are impressive. This isn't Minecraft graphics, it's almost Sims 4.
Oculus Quest 2 Damn, the people in the marketing pictures look like absolute tools, no kidding I want to stay in VR. I'll spare you pictures of what I look like wearing it. I'll even spare you the pictures of gameplay for now because 3D VR looks really bad on a screen. Also to take a screenshot or cast to the internet I need to jailbreak it or use facebook - yuck
Real Life Sucks Compared to VR Fantasy worlds.
It's like playing a video game, except instead of playing a video game in your living room, you are playing a video game in virtual reality in your living room.
Beat Sabre is like a virtual reality 3D fruit ninja and quite intense. It was my first game and I play the shit out of it for a few months during a lockdown. Nothing is nicer than taking a 10-minute break from work to enter Meta's VR land to attack stuff with dual light sabres. A bit of exercise, a break from reality and it wouldn't work on any other system. 5/5 it is the perfect VR starter game that everyone who isn't lazy as hell and owns a VR headset should try.
Golf 5 eClub on the other hand is a sim. It is a fairly realistic golf game. Actually, this is why I bought the VR headset, I was waiting for a good golf game to come out (I bought Oculus in spring 2021 knowing a good golf game would come out late summer 2021). It's better than the other golf game (Golf+) but has a weird name. Golf+ is just a stupid name because it's actually not as good as real golf or AR (screen) golf. Also, I'll be getting a realistic golf club attachment soon which should enhance the realness to help complete the deal. 4/5 it's still in beta, maybe a few more months and using it with the proper golf handgrip will get it to a 5.
Maybe I'll actually show or talk about real virtual gameplay later.
Anyway My apologies Back to my Story
The VR Headset is a gateway drug to the metaverse
After first admitting I own a VR headset, I had a conversation with the same friend about a Swiss suicide Pod called Sarco. It sounds awesome.
Disclaimer: neither of us is even slightly suicidal, so don't worry. If you are, stop reading my bullshit and get help.
We were discussing it in the Stoic sense, something you would learn from a 1st-year university philosophy class. To save you that headache, listen up. If you reasonably decide that you want to kill yourself (ex. you are dying and in pain or a psychotic monster), you may as well have a machine purposely designed for it so you don't make a mess or leave that unpleasant business to a doctor.
For a lot of reasons a suicide pod would be better than a Facebook VR machine connected to a Facebook Metaverse, be careful with that shit man.
I don't want to get into all the reasons why, but one plus is that you don't need to worry about getting addicted to a suicide pod, it's safer than heroin in that sense at least. Nice and clean.
It's also more predictable.
What does Oculus have to do with the Metaverse?
I think the metaverse is a mix of AR and VR technology to interact with digital social ecosystems, but in reality, it will be whatever the tech giants and world governments tell us it should be.
Oculus Quest is the cheapest and now most popular VR headset. Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg liked reading the poorly-written dystopian book Ready Player One (there is also a movie).
Sorry, not sorry if you liked it, it reads like a shitty teenage novel. Actually, I liked it, but more often than sometimes I have very poor taste. I just read somewhere it's a bad book long after reading it (and liking it), but the review I read changed my mind (I'm easily manipulated, shallow, and open-minded). I read a lot of books, I probably just forgot how bad it was - literally as predictable as an episode of Dora the Explorer but with gamer nerds and all their stupid tropes.
The Future of Work
My work is pushing some BS metaverse stuff, it is screen-based and far worse than actually being in the office.
I'm not sure who licenses or develops it or anything, it's not my department, and more importantly, it's not my work (yet).
Why just why? I don't get it.
I was asked to log in (they took the liberty of creating all employees an account) and review it. I was even promised gift certificates. I won't install their corporate trash on my personal cellphone or use their wifi with my cellphone. It's a trap! Obvious traps are obvious. I use my work laptop only for work.
But the story continues, eventually, I caved and gave it a try. Wow, it was like running around a really bad 3D rendering of my office. Its graphics are somewhere between Sims 2 and Sims 3 - slightly better than Minecraft, but the very early 2000s.
In any case, after trying I didn't even win a free coffee, but that's okay coffee is pretty much free anyway for people who work in my office.
To review, I can use my work laptop at work to chat with coworkers and click on stuff in the metaverse to open up apps on my computer using the workplace metaverse portal. It's just like using my work computer, except instead of clicking on an icon on the desktop or using the search bar like a normal person, I have to figure out how to make my
sim "virtual avatar" do it and stare at some other dumb cartoon avatars with chat bubbles above their head instead of really bad ID photos with the normal messaging program.
For the record, my office hates assigning work from home. I wonder if this metaverse portal is their way of begging us to remain in the office.
Anyway, my friend laughed his ass off at this dull experience of mine. He doesn't work in a corporate office and I don't think he ever has. If you also haven't I suggest you avoid it at all costs. Take my word for it (or watch Office Space), the Metaverse will not improve most work environments. It will make them less bearable, especially corporate offices.
That said, I had a suggestion to the team behind it:
Please make this metaverse workspace compatible with my Oculus Quest 2 device, it will be awesome.
In reality and virtual reality, it will be a fucking nightmare, worse than one of the horror games I've sampled because it's actually more frightening, and it's probably our future.
The future of VR at home.
I'm actually quite satisfied with the Quest 2, Facebook aside. They just announced Quest 3, but I'll probably skip a generation because it's mostly minor improvements and nothing revolutionary.
VR headsets are going to get far better. Obviously, the graphics and computing and immersive effect will improve. The games are extremely intuitive and it only takes a few minutes to figure out. If the headset doesn't make you dizzy (it's bad for young children and people with certain medical issues), it's a lot of fun.
You can already connect it to your computer if you want more power than the Internet and headset hardware can offer. I think a lot more small Bluetooth devices that work with the headset will come out. I bought something for my stationary bike that goes on the pedal and figures out how fast you are going. Combine it with google street view, some 3d rendering, etc. and you can use it to bike anywhere. I tried (whatever the game is called) and nearly got motion sickness - 2/5 stars, it was neat, but it's a subscription game and a work in progress.
It's more like Mindcrap than Minecraft
The biggest improvement would be using a 3rd person HD camera to figure out where the rest of your body is and give you a proper avatar in the games. I'd buy that, especially for chats and hangouts with real-life friends.
I also plan to try more games, maybe an FPS, puzzle game, etc. Maybe I'll do a proper game review. The thing is, I don't think there are a lot of great games out yet. Most are still in beta mode, especially the virtual hangout places. Also, I can't figure out how to make it look good, the Youtube and Twitch people doing it look retarded and I'm too embarrassed. Maybe I'll take screenshots when I can figure out how to do it without sharing to Facebook.
Imagining a World where we are all Zucked
In the 2d screen world, popular world-building or hangout games are The Sims, Animal Crossing, Minecraft, Roblox etc. The VR ones on Oculus are Rec Room and now Horizons. I've tried neither (it's not available in my region yet thank God), and I'm not too excited to get started or whatever their marketing pitch is.
Nope, there is nothing weird at all about meeting strangers in VR world-building games, especially considering how popular it is with children. Let's put creep mode at 100% and imagine all the perverts who are going to enjoy this unprecedented access into virtual fantasies.
Hey kids come to my virtual playhouse and let's sing and dance to Michael Jackson songs together.
I've thought a lot about how dystopian the world is going to become, especially if the social realms of the metaverse take off. People will get extremely addicted to it. I think this is the goal.
My biggest fear is actually being forced to use it when I don't want to. Oh, you don't want to join a meeting in the VR? What's wrong with you, anti-social weirdo!
Maybe in a few decades, we will have VR pods, or those special-purpose human treadmills and rooms will become the norm. Maybe the world will get so polluted and authoritarian that VR will be the only decent escape. Eventually, we probably won't even need to connect, we will just have it hardwired into our brains, etc. There are lots of great movies and books about this. Just search 'dystopia'.
More likely, it's just going to be great fun. Imagine a far more immersive and social gaming, multiplayer, video chat, or telecommuting experience. There are definitely going to be a lot of hiccups on the way.
That said I doubt it will be utopian or free from corporate hands, who is going to pay for it? Will this be UBI and welfare? Access to a safe VR pod with feeding tubes, waste collection tubes, etc. that you never have to leave? Robots and idiots too dumb to realize it's far better than normal reality, doing all the real work...I think so eventually.
Anyway don't take my word for it. If you don't believe me buy an Oculus, learn how to enjoy it before you have no other choice. Maybe I'll try to persuade you more later.