VRmageddon – Pronounced “Vee Armageddon“.
The term popped into my head as I was reading about VR headsets and the 3D content paradox:
“It’s hard, […] to convince people to buy a VR headset if there’s nothing to watch or play on it. And it’s hard to convince developers and producers to make content for a device that nobody owns yet.
“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem as far as content goes.“
Within the last few years, we’ve seen the websites that were built between 1995 and 2010 implode, due to the fact that they were created to be viewed on desktop computers, with a big screen, a keyboard, and a mouse. The layouts were not responsive – and much of the content was bound to plugins that smartphones would never support.
I was at a UX seminar some years ago, and the gentleman doing the talking referred to this as the “device apocalypse“. Pretty dramatic, sure – but it did accurately reflect what was going on. Having had some of my own sites, that had performed magnificently for over a decade, obliterated by this process, I felt the term was entirely appropriate, and I have been using it, when appropriate, ever since.
Two Minutes to Midnight
There were those who claimed that the ability to use websites on smartphones was going to change everything. Require the rebuilding of old websites to provide good UX on smartphones. Push plugins back out to the fringes where they belong. And, kill Flash.
I sorta missed that coming. I was happy building crazy interactive stuff in Flash. But when chatty people all over the tech world are saying things like “It’s hard, he says, to convince people to buy a VR headset if there’s nothing to watch or play on it. And it’s hard to convince developers and producers to make content for a device that nobody owns yet“, I simply cannot shake the feeling that it’s about to happen again. And this time, I shan’t be oblivious. This time, I can see it coming. This time, I’m gonna blog like hell about it, learn all the relevant technologies, and take part in it all from the get-go, rather than wait until it is entrenched and jump aboard an already crowded bandwagon.
VRmageddon – is it even a word?
Meh, probably not. Though, it’s always fun to Google stuff that might be a word, just to see how much it’s in use, word or not.
I got a big 375 results for the term VRmageddon. Many of them are specific games, or specific user names of the people who play those games. It has been used as a Twitter hashtag – #VRmageddon – 8 times since 2012, most recently in Dec 2015. So, this is a pretty fresh term.
(I feel the need to mention that I did score credit for a word once – tutolet. Google it – you get the Urban Dictionary mention up top, an entry from 2009, and it credits me with coining it. And I do have screenshots from Google back in the day, 2004, showing that it did not exist – and then it did exist once I published it on my site. I’m proud of that. Guess I won’t get to be the founding father of VRmageddon. But still, maybe I can get this blog post to score #1 on the Google if the day should come when the term falls into common usage.)
Here come the VR headsets
From what we’ve seen – there is a race on to bring virtual reality headsets to the market. Whether people will buy them yet is beside the point – companies are positioning themselves to be leaders in the market. The practical applications for the devices will be many. 3D wraparound movies (or Passive VR), gaming (of course), and then – well, that has yet to be decided.)
But the point is, VR headsets are coming, and there IS technology available to make 3D content available on the open web. Though, if you look at websites that are spearheading these technologies (in particular, three.js and X3DOM), they still appear to be the domain of a few dedicated people working slowly, on their own time, towards greater and greater versions of these unused technologies – technologies that the companies who make VR headsets probably really wish were flourishing and thriving today the way other technologies are.
The headsets are coming. Is the content? For how long will the statement “It’s hard, he says, to convince people to buy a VR headset if there’s nothing to watch or play on it. And it’s hard to convince developers and producers to make content for a device that nobody owns yet” hold any water at all?
If it’s anything like the “device apocalypse”, VRmageddon will happen pretty fast. And most people won’t see it coming, until it’s well underway.
Post Script: I’d mentioned that the hashtag #VRmageddon has been used on twitter 8 times. Half of those are junk. Here’s the four existing actual tweets about VRmageddon:
#TGIF #VR folks #UNITE ALL roads lead 2 #VRMAGEDDON (CopyRt: #VRMediaHouse 😉 Here’s proof! http://www.wired.com/2015/10/the-nyts-new-project-will-be-vrs-first-mainstream-moment/ … http://uploadvr.com/youtube-adds-stereoscopic-3d-support-for-360o-videos/ …