Myths and considerations for the future of VR design through the eyes of an enthusiast user.
The recent buzz around Virtual Reality (VR) due to Apple’s Vision Pro announcement has sparked numerous debates about its future and whether it isolates users from the real world. As someone who has been a VR user for several years, I feel compelled to share my insights and experiences. Especially because I’ve seen too many posts that proclaim a version of “VR is the future” or “VR is isolating” with ill-defined arguments to make either case. Based on my experiences using a VR device for 2 years, trying out various VR headsets, and introducing friends to VR, here are my reflections on the opportunities for designing VR better.
My history with VR
My journey into the world of VR began in 2016 when I first experienced the HTC Vive at a tech conference. Fascinated by the immersive possibilities, I eventually became the proud owner of a VR headset, the Valve Index, in late 2020. During the covid lockdown I was stuck in an apartment in Singapore, and I went through the effort of purchasing and importing one. This device had to be shipped over from the USA, with several weeks of anxious waiting plus shipping & import fees as a result. Going through this effort made me the excited owner of one of the most high-end VR headsets available to consumers in late 2020. However, I did decide to sell the device in 2022 to await the release of newer models. Along the way, I also had the opportunity to try out the Meta Quest 2 from friends and the HTC Vive Pro at VR arcades. With over 200 hours of VR usage, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation than most for the experiences it can give us, and its current limitations.
Introducing VR to new users
During the 2 years of owning a headset, I have also introduced VR to at least 2 dozen friends, which was often their first experience with VR. Out of these, there was not a single person that hated it. Some friends were afraid of VR at first, others got vertigo looking over a virtual balcony, or others got a little dizzy on…