VidCon reacts to eleVR. Also, social responsibility.

At VidCon we had a chance to demo the first VR vlog to a ton of actual vloggers. Being a vlog with actual content, not just a tech demo, meant that people who know that medium can get sucked in right away and see how they themselves might use it.

Many people put their hands in front of their face or tried to touch things they saw. Some said they wanted to stay forever. A couple people said it was weird to look down and see that they are a tripod. Not “there was a tripod,” but “I am a tripod.” And a couple people found their re-entry into the real world to be jarring, surreal.

If that happens in a low-res 2-minute video vlog, I’m concerned about the possible psychological effects in a longer video piece or game. After the 3d movie Avatar came out, there was some news buzz about viewers becoming depressed and suicidal, reportedly because the beautiful images they saw were not real. I don’t know to what extent the movie actually contributed to those feelings beyond triggering them and giving something to point to, but I am concerned about similar reactions to beautiful VR experiences.

The video game industry seems to mostly be focused on making addictive experiences and then capitalizing on that addiction in very predatory ways, these days. We are very, very close to the future where amazing virtual experiences will make the real world seem empty in comparison, and you can bet there’s a lot of people already working on how to exploit this as hard as possible. I like to be a socially responsible media creator, so this is something I’m going to be thinking about a lot.

Anyway, the VidCon response was extremely encouraging, and I managed to collect some of the instagrams and twitter responses, embedded below.