I'll stick my neck out and guess that I'm not the only regular visitor to these forums who doesn't fall into the obvious categories of hardcore gamer/developer/tech hobbyist.
I wonder how many people here (like me) just love the idea of VR so much that they just had to be some part of it even without being able to lay claim to a relevant skill set as of right now. How many of us have wished we could find that area of passion in life that could also double as our field of work?
I suspect that there are lots of us thinking desperately of ways to find a niche for themselves in this fledgling industry, I bet there are lots of us that believe this is the very thing they've been looking for all along. Please understand, I'm not trying to take away anything from the enthusiasts/developers that have dedicated themselves to VR for the last ten-twenty years. I'm not trying to anger those that have had belief and passion in VR the entire time by using sentiment that they have earned the right to use. I abandoned VR as a feasible technology years ago, it was just never going to happen. Until that Palmer guy started meddling...
.. then the dreams returned with such incredible force, I can't sleep properly any more.
My mind continually grinds a number of distinct trains of thought:
1. Envisioning the future VR industry in broader terms to work out where my current skills can be useful. So I'm an accountant, maybe I could work for Oculus when they're big enough to need back office staff. What kind of amazing peripheral can I think of that somebody else hasn't. Second Life retailer... Etc...
2. How to make the time to skill up on the things that are valuable now, art, code, design etc. I'm now in my forties, I've got three young kids, I don't have the time to read a newspaper. Something needs to change drastically
3. How to find a low skill foot in the door. And....
4. What does the killer app for VR look like..... aaaarrgh.
I am not an entrepreneur or an opportunist, my aim is not to be rich, I'd just love to spend the rest of my days doing something exciting, fascinating, fun. Who wouldn't. And so it goes, and my mind rests for awhile on the only really obvious business model I can think of:
VR experiences for rent (think DVD rental, think internet cafe, think games arcade).
A physical place, a building with some VR equipment (Rift, Omni, guns, motion detection, LAN, fridge filled with ginger beer etc) and people paying for one VR experience or another and paying by the minute (like fairground rides).
How many of us are thinking about the potential of a business like this? A lot I'd be willing to wager. I wonder if it could pay the bills whilst I taught myself to code and immersed myself day after day in the technology and the consumer experience.
In the last few days I have been wondering if it wouldn't be better to explore this collaboratively. I have been totally inspired by these forums and the openess of the devs in here. I'm NOT talking about a corporation, a partnership, a franchise or an investment - far from it. Just a willingness to collaborate and explore the value in taking a consistent, pragmatic approach to bringing VR experiences to audiences.
I'm wondering if there are other people like me willing to consider the benefits in a shared vision about what successful execution means, possibilities of leveraging group buying power, sharing knowledge about LAN specification /configurations. Branding by being voluntarily consistent. To be trusted by an open developer community such that it might be a place to showcase incomplete, non-final works both hardware and software.
In the short to medium term I really think VR lend itself to this kind of delivery, the expense, the physical bulk and experimental nature of VR equipment makes 'try before you buy' very appealing. It may be the only way to enjoy some multiplayer experiences because of the latency of the internet.
Very interested to hear what people think. Could it be done this way? Would devs be interested in the existence of some kind of open source rental distribution arrangement? Could it be trusted? What would happen if a dozen of these places popped up overnight in one city? (frozen yoghurt anyone?)....
Thanks for your time!