As previously reported by Caliandris, during Friday’s 314th radio show my wife admitted she felt virtual worlds were a waste of time. I tried giving her various examples to show value far beyond what appears to the casual observer. She doesn’t read VTOR, at least to my knowledge, so it’s doubtful she’ll see this and similar posts unless specifically pointed here. Through my normal reading I came the following article from USA Today that talks about various real world uses of virtual reality in business.
Mechanical simulation — which is used, for example, to predict the crashworthiness of a new car design — is a $1.5 billion business and is growing at 10% to 12% a year, said Marc Halpern, research director at Gartner Inc. He says using virtual reality is less expensive and quicker than building and testing complex prototypes.
I didn’t realize VR was this big a business. $1.5 billion for only one segment of the marketplace? Wow. Just to stick up for my wife (a little), i don’t think she intended to blanket cover virtual reality as a whole, but was talking more specifically about online virtual worlds like Second Life and Runescape. She seems to view these places as glorified chatrooms with little value. Can’t say there was a single VTOR author that agreed, including me, but we can work on her each week showing her where there is value beyond what might appear on the surface.
Manufacturers of farm equipment, car seats, mufflers and other products have joined automakers and aircraft manufacturers in using the technology to speed up and improve product design, train workers and configure factories and stores.
While all of this is admittedly happening with non consumer grade virtual reality products and services, is it that far-fetched to imagine this type of VR inside worlds like Second Life someday?
One of the VTOR authors mentioned that it was difficult to explain the attraction and value of virtual worlds like Second Life to others. This is something I’ve heard before, although my wife has been registered in SL almost as long as me. She doesn’t do any business in there and has shown little interest in exploring virtual worlds. She’d rather read a book, watch a good movie or watch a live concert in person offline. I was successful getting her to admit that she likes money, so if she saw my virtual business generating a lot of $$$ I think that would go a long way to altering her perception. Somehow, I doubt she’ll be impressed that if I show here that while sleeping I made a L$600 sale for something I created, but hey, $2 USD is still $2 USD to me. I get excited by making money from creations and I still bend over and pick up pennies. Sure, I have to work on more products so that there are a couple more zeroes, but you need to start somewhere. How’s that for motivation?
Do you have spouse or significant other Virtual Reality support?
My own situation made me wonder about others. Does your spouse or significant other support your explorations in virtual worlds or does he/she think there are more productive things you could/should be doing? What about your friends that you don’t converse with online? What do they think about virtual reality and virtual worlds like Second Life?