Recently, a friend of mine attempted to play Battlefront with his 13-year-old son on his Playstation 4. The two of them, sharing one controller, switched back-and-forth as each played a turn once the other one died. They were playing the Tatooine Map and racing speeder bikes, maneuvering in and out of trees trying not to die. My friend’s son noticeably processed data quicker (Look out for that tree! Watch out for that rock!), thus delaying death longer. My friend, a middle-aged father of three, didn’t fair as well; crashing and burning almost instantly after the start of play. What’s the difference?
I’m reminded of two types of people Virtual Reality appeals to:”The Fast and the Curious”. By fast, we mean those seemingly meta-humans among us who operate much like computers themselves. Their brains, processing data at dizzying speeds compared to the rest of the population, unlock complex and multi-faceted matrixes quicker than most. They tend to enjoy designing the pace of their daily lives in much the same way that they want to enjoy a gourmet meal in a 5-star restaurant: fast and now; with no skimping on quality. They’ve got things to do, after all!
David Allen has written about the way our brains work like computers in his internationally acclaimed bestseller, Getting Things Done. He writes:
“The short-term memory part of your mind – the part that tends to hold all of the incomplete, undecided, and unorganized “stuff” – functions much like RAM on a personal computer. Your conscious mind, like the computer screen, is a focusing tool, not a storage place. You can think about only two or three things at once. But the incomplete items are still being stored in the short-term-memory space. And as with RAM, there’s limited capacity; there’s only so much “stuff” you can store in there and still have your brain function at a high level. Most people walk around with their RAM bursting at the seams.”
Not so with the “The Fast And Curious”! They seem to defy normal laws of neurology. Occasionally, they may reach a limit with how fast they process things, but like Olympic High-Jumpers, their bar is set much higher than the general public.
The other type of person Virtual Reality appeals to are the curious. They’re “Next-Level Seekers”, relentlessly finding next level gears to take them higher, faster, deeper, and further, longer. Curious as they are, they continually attempt to elevate experience to new heights, bypassing laws of gravity and sometimes, logic. When you and I manage to find our “next-level” gear, it usually awakens in us “next-level fear. The curious, however, thrive on emotions like fear, uncertainty and doubt. Where it might cause you or I to push the brakes, it causes them to hit the accelerator.
Curious Virtual Reality consumers’ fierce passion for knowledge and progress reminds me of the Albert Einstein quip which says:
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
The curious live by this philosophy. Science is better for it. Innovative technology is the result of it. And Virtual Reality is profiting from it.
How about you? Are you fast and curious? About Virtual Reality? What questions do you have? Please leave a comment below…