#78 Polygon’s Ben Kuchera on the Evolution of VR, Violence, & the power of subtle experiences where you feel limited & weak

Ben Kuchera talks about what it’s like to write about virtual reality when the majority of his readers haven’t been able to try VR yet. There’s still a sense that it might be all hype a bunch of vaporware up until you’re able to actually try it and believe it yourself.

UntitledHe talks about some of the technical hurdles that have come up a long the way, but that it’s amazing and incredible once you get everything working. He sees that Gear VR will be like developing for a console in that developers will have a fixed set of hardware that can provide a more consistent VR experience.

Kuchera also discusses violence in VR, and that as we get closer to real experiences that there is a reduced tendency to want to engage in extreme violence like murdering people. And that the type of experiences that tend to work very well are the ones where you feel immersed within an environment.

Some of the VR experiences that stick out to Ben include Sound Self because its so formless and relaxing. Technolust is one of the best, fully-formed environments he’s seen in VR, and he sees that Darknet & Dread Halls also work great in GearVR. He also enjoys flying around in experiences like Flying in Dreams.

One of the interesting observations that Ben had is that he likes feeling limited and weak with VR experiences because it creates more immersion of reality. He’s excited to see more subtle and smaller experiences are since that’s what he’s finding really compelling at the moment.

Right now, Virtual Reality is the worst that it’ll ever be in our lifetime, and there’s been more innovation in 2 years than the last 20 years. His kids are growing up with VR, and he’s excited to see the open problems of VR input controls be solved and how VR will continue to evolve and change us.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio