|By PlatformPCPS3Xbox 360Wii U3DSPS VitaAndroidiPhoneiPadOther HardwareEditor's Choiceby Author||By LatestThe best and worst s : May Returns The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Dark Souls II: The Crown of the... Chariot Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Gauntlet Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Forza Horizon 2 NHL 15More reviews||By GenreActionAdventureFightersFree-to-playMMOMusicPlatformShootersSportsRPGStrategyMore genres|
This article was written before I recieved news today that AFK News will not be released soon. It may come one day, but it most likely wouldn't be a day any week soon. So I'll be returning back to my usual schedule of one-a-week for articles. However, I'll need to get back into the swing of things so the next article wouldn't be next week but the week after. After that point, it'll be a once-a-week schedule as usual.
Edit: So the full title "Futurism Of The Oculus: A Consideration Of Possible Future Scenarios Due To Techology Advancement" couldn't fit in the title. So it's now shorten.
So when I went on board to take part in AFK News (it's coming, I promise), a few decisions were made about the type of content to reflect AFK News's goal of creating professional analyses of videogames. If you've worked on a social science paper, especially sociology, it's roughly the same style. This means things like to avoid a casual writing style, using language to signify ownership (e.g. “this paper will show” rather “I will show”) and baseless conclusions with no evidence. The last part is what makes it tough to talk about something I would like to: Futurism in Videogames, especially concerning the technology of the Oculus Rift.
Futurism, or Futurology, is the process of using current knowledge to attempt to predict future events. It tends towards using tools like extrapolation and assumptions to assume what may occur. For instance, there is a tendency to predict that humanoid robots will exist one day that will past the Turing Test (even if you may technically get the Chinese Room problems). This is born from our extrapolation of the progression of technology will continue unhampered, that our goals of said robots will not shift and similar assumptions. I explain this to help you recognise that not only this entire article is guess-work and I will likely be very off the reality, but also that I am aware of these problems.
However, despite this, I wish to discuss interesting possible sociological/psychological aspects that may come about from the Oculus Rift based on a video that inspired me to write this article. It will make the assumption a technology akin to the Razer Hydra (a product that is now discontinued) will exist, but technology will be discussed as well. It will also make the assumption that there will be a gradual shift towards games that use the Oculus Rift and other supporting technology, which I'll admit to being an assumption that flies in the face of how much people do not like motion sensor games at all, including me. Part of the reason for this assumption is how the Oculus Rift functions differently to existing motion sensors like the Kinect and the Move, and partially because the Oculus Rift looks like it actually works.
"As you can see, the Kinect operating machine works roughly 10% of the time. Looks pretty to investors, I don't doubt sir...Up to the point when they see we save people 10% of the time. Percentages increase if it's a simple routine operation like exploratory surgery on the knee...To about 40%."
The first aspect of this is a re-emergence of the “what is a videogame” conversation, as a new form of simulation is born. This new form of simulation will likely be due to the Oculus Rift's form of motion sensor technology being in the form of vision. With interactivity of being able to look around and, potentially few other things, it could be argued that it isn't a film. However, due to the low-level of interactivity, people will argue if it's a game. This is an example of what type of interactive-experiences may end up being born to cater to the simulation experience the Oculus Rift may offer.
Despite the discussion, I feel it'll be the type of question that'll already be answered by the reader and all forms of discussions are actually bitter arguments from the “is Gone Home a videogame?” discussion. However, due to the simulation-esque feel of the Oculus Rift, videogames that would normally appear too boring for standard audiences (e.g. Dear Esther) may get a resurgence. This could be due to people's curiosity being fed by the new form of presentation and a greater amount of immersion.
From this new venture into simulations and interactive-experiences, new technologies may come along. There are technologies that look to be designed with the Oculus Rift in mind. Two successful ones are the Razor Hydra, which is now discontinued, and the Virtuix Omni. While the Razor Hydra sought to replicate hand movements, the Virtuix Omni was designed to allow foot-movement to be detected.
However, naturally, there are downsides to both technologies. The Hydra does not have a device that can alter weight so a handgun is as heavy as a rocket launcher. While the Virtuix Omni has no way of detecting crouching or being prone. However, chances are is in time these problems will be fixed. A less commercially successful product was the Haptic Suit which gave feedback depending on where you were being hit in game. If it failed due to it's own limitations or due to people not wanting to feel it when they're shot is unknown.
Simultaniously the reason why it did as badly and as well as it did was because it lacked a lower-half part. This would be so you could punt people between the legs through the internet, rendering them hopefully sterile, every time they said or did something so stupid you died inside.
The other downside to the technology is how piecemeal it is currently. Put together, you'd be walking around on a pad with a harness on it, gripping two sticks as your controller, a headset on you and, assuming the Haptic Suit, having a suit on as well. It'd honestly be surprised if a company doesn't decide to combine all the technology together into one collection that functions with each other. If it's an existing company or a new one is unknown. If a guess had to be made, then it'd be Oculus VR which is now owned by Facebook, but it could quite easily be any other company.
The possible psychological impacts can be split into two sections, the positive outcomes and the negative outcomes.
Starting with the positive outcomes, there are a few but I'll cover two. The first is it can help potentially distressed individuals while they are in hospital. With the immersion the Oculus Rift potentially holds, it can distract patients who may be in pain and be unhappy with their environment or themselves (e.g. if they are using chemo, it may distract from the hair-loss and the weight loss that occurs). By putting the individual in an environment they may enjoy more, even if it's a simple walking through the garden simulation, it has the potential to raise their mood. Which by raising the mood of the individual, they have a greater chance to recover than someone who has given up.
Another such positive is it can allow people to experience things they may not be able to experience. While there will be elements that are very far away from being simulated, such as smells, tastes and being able to feel like you're walking when you're not, the Oculus Rift has the potential to become close. This creates the possibility to simulate things not out of entertainment or interest, but for a more positive psychological state for someone. One such example could be to alleviate some depression symptoms brought about because physical disability (e.g. damage to the spine) by simulating some experiences they enjoy such as travelling to foreign places or taking part in sports they loved.
Thanks to Oculus Rift, soon disabled elderly people may experience a joy they once experienced before being bound to a wheelchair: Chasing children who rang their doorbell and ran away, with belt and a lot of colourful language.
Another example that has been theorised is it could help with transgenderism. By allowing the individual to experience a body of the opposite gender, they can determine how they feel in said body. BeAnotherLab did an experiment where two individuals could feel like themselves in a different body. By synchronising movements and wearing Oculus Rifts connected to a camera the other person is wearing, a person may feel what it's like to have a body of the opposite gender. This may help someone discover if they feel more natural as their original gender or as the opposite gender.
However, there are a few psychological problems that could occur from technologies such as the Oculus Rift.
One such problem is it may increase the addictive nature of videogames. By having greater immersion in a world where the individual is loved, praised and depended on, like a MMORPG, the greater the chance this may cause someone to disregard a world as rife with problems as their own actual lives and focus upon living in a world where they are psychologically satisfied. This is not to suggest however videogames addiction doesn't already exist (it does) or that it'll affect everyone (it wouldn't), but there may be a growing amount of cases. Although that excludes how this is reported cases, and videogame addiction is a condition that is increasingly being legitimised in the mental health field so the amount of people reporting it will most likely rise anyway.
Another problem is by creating greater immersion in the game-world, the events in the game have a greater effect on the player. While this on the surface is a very good thing, it does have the potential to cause some negative psychological repercussions. If a particular experience in a particularly immersive game ends up violent or traumatic, it could affect the individual negatively. For example, if there was a scene particularly violent, the individual may get PTSD symptoms.
Another example is an individual may end up mourning a character, either due to their death or due to the game ending. While there hasn't been a game example, besides the videos on Youtube of people crying about game characters they consider their waifu, there has been an example in film. After the release of James's Camaron's Avatar, a film with high special effects work, people began getting depressed. Accordding to the Huffington Post, there have been reports of depression and suicide on forums dedicated to the film Avatar. So the possibility exists for fictional events in a visual medium to invoke feelings of depression, even if it's just due to the fictional nature of the world. So isn't it possible a particularly immersive interactive-experience could invoke these feelings?
Sadly, like a character with plot armour plumetting to a death that consists of a floor of spikes, the fans of Avatar ultimately missed the point.
The final interesting aspect to discuss is how this type of technology could theoretically revolutionise videogames as a sport. In it's current state, videogames tend to be a competition of tactics, reflexes and much more mental abilities. Physical strength and dexterity (besides reflexes) are left out of the equation. So, consider a videogame that used the Oculus Rift, Virtuix Omni and the Razer Hydra in conjunction that was created to function at competitive level. A FPS for instance. In that instance, a new skill list would be required.
To use a FPS simulation at competition level for an example, a skill list that could be required could include things such as stamina for running, fine motor controls for aiming, smaller body shape to decrease targeting area and maybe even the ability to quickly learn the environment if rules and levels were designed for the event as to prohibit reflexive actions that can occur in games like Counter Strike. This in turn could act to either legitimise or delegitimise videogames as a sport. Videogame culture could claim the virtual sporting event, thus allowing more tactical-based videogames to become a legitimate sport in the mainstream. However, it could become distant enough to typical videogames as to be considered not a videogame and possibly picked up by sporting circuit or simply not be a formalised competitive sport due to the lack of any backing.
Fortunately, I don't think having exhaustive knowledge of the many ways you can call someone offensive insults or imply the ways they screwed all of your family including the pet guinea pig would be part of the skill set of a competitive FPS simulation. Sending a false alarm to your competitor's local police station about your competitor holding children hostage however may be part of that skill set though.
So, considering all the possibilities that future videogame technologies hold, it is naturally a future that looks simultaneously promising and one with problems. However, what the future will most likely hold is increasingly interesting technological advances that'll further increase engagement. It will be one naturally with some problems at the start, in a similar way that motion sensors on consoles has turned into a running joke. Even include some instances of people making some business decisions based on past logic that no longer applies, like different release dates globally for digital releases despite no shipping or colour encoding systems (e.g. PAL and NTSC) to consider.
However, especially with regards to possible psychological problems, we need to show caution. We need to be not afraid to say no to pushing the envelope, at least without any research into the effects. We need to be able to admit our videogames may cause harm in others, like they do today with regards to addiction. If we, as a culture, refuse to admit fault people's lives may be destroyed and we'll all be worse off for it. Every form of media has it's shady side. Such as snuff-films, corrupt journalism and moral panic inducing TV programs. It's okay to admit a shady side to videogames if future developments start suggesting harm is being committed. This article is all speculation, but grounded enough in reality that a possibility exists of it occurring. If our love for videogames blinds us from the harm it may cause rather than motivates us to improve it, then videogames will be demonised by the mainstream and all the work for legitimation of our medium in the last 40 years will be for naught.
However, if videogames ceased to be trying to be serious and legitimate, at least we could all bask in the warm flame and insane-song of increasingly tedious videogame debates. Worry not, because there will always be arguments to warm our bodies and lose our minds to.
Hey, so this is my first blog post since joining AFK News (sadly don't have a link yet to it), and I wish to discuss something I will be doing for 61 days. This is a personal goal, for my own interests, but if others wish to join in I really recommend doing so.
On the 30th of September, I will purchase Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth and, if it's paid DLC, the Payday 2 DLC released on that day (the Hotline Miami one). From that point on, from the 1st of October to the 1st of December I will not buy a single video-game related item. Not an indulging of a deal on PSN or Steam. Not a Payday 2 DLC. Not even a Humble Bundle for less than £1. No games, DLC or added content. Anything relevant to videogames at all. This is for reasons beyond financial (as I'm not even buying $1 Humble Bundles), and dips into psychological.
As I've hinted at time and time again, I am someone with an anxiety disorder. It's something that has followed me from an early age. So, naturally, I found my own releases to deal with anxiety. A few can be seen as perhaps positive. Some like my tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm usually open how I feel emotionally. However, I also have some negative habits. I've had a long history of using alcohol as something to lean on during my teens, and somewhat a little bit during my early 20s during hard moments.
As much as I stole alcohol from my dad during my teens, I never stooped low enough to drink White Lightning. Even alcoholics have to have standards.
One tactic I've used to deal with my anxiety through-out my entire childhood and even today has been videogames. I grew up with them, and used them to get through a childhood that was spent pretty much in social isolation. That and the internet (a place that I had a few associates and no friends) were my two tools of helping to deal with things. However, when I moved out and went to university, the power of complete control of my life went to my head. I begun buying games on a whim, looking to play something that piqued my interest or held my attention. My standards of what would hold my attention for a length of time increased. So I bought more and more. Not usually at full price, but let's say that Humble Bundle's $1 for 3 to 5 games became a good friend.
If this is starting to sound like an addiction to videogames, I'm not so sure it's necessarily that. It's more an addiction to purchasing games. A rush of “maybe this is the game that'll captivate my interest” occurs when I buy a game. 99% of the time, my interest is not kept long. The wishful gazes of the title before purchases, and the rumours of just how this game is amazing and may change my life, just leaving me with something resembling a hang-over. A disappointing “...That's it?”, before I bumble off to see what new shiny games are being sold.
The reasons for this are somewhat self-inflicted as well as created by their own. As I've grown up with videogames, so has my demand of them. I demand more things of them. No longer I wish to be simply entertained by gunplay and sword-fights. I wish to be intrigued. I wish to be drawn into a world that makes me think about things I would not have thought of. I wish to be distracted not by gameplay but rather stories. My tolerance level and my expectations are now of an unachievable level. A level that I need to bring down myself.
However, another aspect to consider is Cryder, et al's paper on Misery Is Not Miserly. The short version is that sad individuals spend more than non-sad individuals. Their theory being that with the combination of a sad event and self-focus, it leads to devaluation of the self. Devaluation of the self leads to desire to enhance self. This in turn leads to the increase valuation of possessions that one may acquire. So with my state of social exclusion and anxiety, it's hard to have value in myself. I simply do not value myself much at all. So it's understandable that maybe, just maybe, this videogame will complete me and help me value myself more.
I'm sure on a sub-concious level I somehow thought "yes, a game where you shoot police officers and sometimes accidentally civilians as bank robbers as you steal cocaine, money, gold and guns will complete me psychologically some how" when I bought Payday 2. Then again, it is good fun.
I'll also admit that financial reasons are important as well to all of this. As I'll be leaving my home to live far away, hoping to get a job. I need to try to avoid as many avenues where I may lose money due to my own incompetence. Humble Bundles only cost $1, but I can be swayed easily to purchase a game or two on Steam that catches my eye for £20. I've also bought into quite a few Kickstarters that look interesting in my eyes.
I'll admit in this, I've rambled quite a lot. That it's very unfocused, very casual and very introspective. I'm not doing this to raise awareness of videogame addiction, nor have I adequately discussed it (maybe in AFK news in the future?). However, I wanted to write this for three reasons. First, I wanted to introspectively discuss this so I could understand this more myself. Secondly, I feel if I didn't put this down in paper then I can see myself backing out of it. At least in paper, it's harder to not feel like I'm betraying someone by caving in. Thirdly, I wanted to open up on my experiences so others may know of them. At the very least, so if someone is feeling somewhat similar or they wish to undertake a “videogame fast”, they may do without feeling alone. After all, it is hard sometimes to just say no. To deny the thing that you feel may complete you. I hope to further complete myself by denying said items for a while. Afterwards, well, I hope to spend money on videogames in a more controlled manner.
On a side note, damn the editor has changed. It means I can't do the dark-green text for captions. Also, I'm glad Payday 2's Crimefest is a thing. That should save me some money.