Today was weird. Samsung's events are not something that usually fall under the definition of normal, but today was particularly crazy. See, I sat in a gigantic dark room filled with 5,000 other people while we watched the new Galaxy S7 phone being revealed — through a VR headset. It was terrifying and cool, but mostly terrifying.
Here's the thing: virtual reality is supposed to be something awesome, something outstanding, something I can brag about ("Hey I attended a press conference in VR today!"). The reality was embarrassment. We're still trying to get beyond the whole VR is awesome just because concept.
Once you take away the cool factor, the woah-so-this-is-VR gasp, the fact is that I was surrounded by a lot of people in a very weird position while I watched through an electronic device something that was happening no more than 6m away from me. It was absurd and surreal to say the least, and this is actually important because the image above could represent not just some quirky phone launch, but how cinemas could operate in just a few years. So get used to it.
It felt like I was being forced to watch something that I would have preferred to see with my own eyes. Because virtual reality is awesome, sure, but do you know what is still kind of great? Good old reality — for the most part.
When we tried the HTC Vive for the first time last year, we concluded that VR wouldn't be locked away to one device. Instead it will be a technology that will fill many gaps. Now you have Gear VR for moments on the go, HTC's Vive when you're gaming at home, and Microsoft's Hololens when you need to be productive.
Hell, there's even VR Porn.
We can no longer deny that VR is going to be a part of our lives in the next few years/decades. Tech companies will make sure of it. It will probably be an important part of "the fuuuuuuture," too. But it is — at the same time — something we still need to figure out, something we just can't put on our face every chance we get just because. Samsung did that today...with Mark Zuckerberg's help.
is this picture an allegory of our future ? the people in a virtual reality with our leaders walking by us. pic.twitter.com/ntTaTN3SdR
— Nicolas Debock (@ndebock) February 21, 2016
And it was weird.