Raph Koster, a game developer and author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, has some interesting thoughts on the longterm implications of Facebook's foray into virtual reality. Virtual reality has much greater potential than merely making games more lifelike, he says. It's about creating the Metaverse, a marriage of the internet and real life, in which it's possible to tour Machu Picchu, build a cathedral, and have sex with a stranger without leaving home. In the Metaverse, incredible power will belong to the companies that own the servers that provide these incredible experiences.
"It’s time to wake up to the fact that you’re just another avatar in someone else’s MMO," Koster writes. "The real race isn’t over the client — the glasses, watches, phones, or goggles. It’s over the servers. It’s over the operating system. The one that understands countless layers of semantic tags upon every object on earth, the one that knows who to show you in Machu Picchu, the one that lets you turn whole visualizations of reality on and off."