Science Fiction to Science Fact

“By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”  Mark Zuckerberg

Yesterday Facebook announced its $2 billion (that’s b for billion) purchase of upstart virtual reality gaming company Oculus Rift.

Going into "the Metasphere" ...version 1.0

Going into “the Metasphere” …version 1.0

Mark Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post, “after games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences.”

Here’s his entire post:

zuckfb  “I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.

This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.

Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences.

Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.

But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.

Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.”

Life in a virtual reality.

Living life in a virtual reality.

In MetaWars, the entire world interfaces in a 3D, five-senses virtual world called The Metasphere – think facebook meets Minecraft, run by a hyper-monopoly called the Millennial Corporation.

Yesterday, that fictional future took a big step to becoming tomorrow’s reality.

While the web is speculating this morning on the nature of facebook’s play (gaming, education, health), I contest that any move to make the web more immersive needs to be viewed through the lens of oil prices.

Crude oil prices over time. Notice the past 20 years.

Crude oil prices over time. Notice the past 20 years.

Despite fracking (hydraulic fracturing), off shore drilling, and the opening up of the Canadian oil sands, the price of oil (typically measured by Brent Crude, the “easy” to refine standard) is only heading in one direction over the medium-long term.

And that means, less travel.  And in a world with less travel, a more immersive and multi-sensory internet is required and desired.  That’s the underlying premise of MetaWars, that in a (post-peak-oil) world without travel, whoever controls the web, controls the world.

And facebook clearly wants to be in control.

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