prediction: VR's mindshare and funding will continue to decline, and Mozilla's partnership with HTC will have been yet another giant waste of time at a critical juncture.
everyone's just running out the clock until some theoretical point where AR hardware happens.


The problem with VR has never been that creative people can't make very cool stuff with it. It's that it was spearheaded by companies who were all looking to seize key strategic territory in the next phase of merging the internet with physical reality (which is as horrifying as it sounds), and create a new must-have product category like the iPhone. The former would be terrible news for civilization, the latter simply isn't happening for a huge range of cultural, ergonomic, and tech reasons.

"Internet further merging with physical reality" would be terrible news for civilization specifically in the context of Facebook and Google controlling it. In a broad sense I do think that merger is inevitable, we just have to make sure those companies or any functionally identical ethical actors aren't anywhere near it. Which is why the ad-tech surveillance complex must be actively fought and dismantled at every single turn.

Whatever new forms the internet takes within our lifetimes, its future must belong to international nonprofits who are accountable to ordinary people. If we lose that battle we are lost as a civilization. Ours will be a history written by shareholders.

Regarding AR specifically, I still have real doubts about hardware being able to deliver. It will need to be super lightweight, extremely energy efficient, but also capable of ridiculous amounts of local computation. The primary law of physics gating that isn't transistor density (Moore's law is ending anyway) but battery power, and advances in that have been much slower and less predictable.

@jplebreton Yeah, you pretty much nailed it
If you don't mind a birdsite link, my mini-review of the Oculus Go I made there is a manifestation of this

@jplebreton I feel like phone-based AR is already the peak AR experience and trying to get more out of it than a basic gimmick is going to take some time. Even the successful “AR” apps like Pokémon Go don’t really make use of AR in any meaningful way (and it’s telling that basically everyone ends up turning that aspect off after about 10 minutes).

@fluffy yeah, phone-based AR was this plateau within easy reach that in practice is mostly a 10 minute gimmick, and the path to anything more substantial from that is super murky. internally i think the companies still investing in VR are telling themselves that this is a nice even line of stepping stones but they're mostly fooling themselves. input interface remains the biggest question. voice input alone will never be sufficient.

@jplebreton Oh definitely. I'm part of a three-person startup (although I'm only really on-board as an advisor) and we have struggled to find a business opportunity which isn't just a silly marketing gimmick. We've done a few apps for clients and the clients love them but the users are just like "oh that's a cute gimmick I guess" and nothing ever really gels with them.

@jplebreton People do love our virtual drone app though, but we're having trouble getting people to find it (and our DLC sales are *abysmal*).

@jplebreton i laughed when the VR hypers said headsets would be the next smartphone, was never going to happen

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