Facebook, VR and the joys of having an armed spaceship in the garage.

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to have a spaceship. I wanted to explore the galaxy, plunge into the death star trench and make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Of course, unless I studied far, far harder, completely avoided girls and dope and somehow made it into NASA this was never, ever going to happen. And hey, the International Space Station isn’t even armed. Three months ago, I played a game called Elite Dangerous on an Oculus Rift DK2 headset and my world completely changed.

As my sleek silver spacecraft slowly lifted off from its landing pad, I looked up to see tiny ships docking far above me, their landing lights glinting. In front, a force field-covered opening led to deep space. After I’d blasted through, I saw a white dwarf star that completely filled my view. Decades dropped away with every passing minute and I was a small boy again. As I entered hyperspace I had to remove the headset or I would have sat there all night.

In Korea, gamers have collapsed and died playing online games that were nothing compare to this. They didn’t eat or drink, they just sat and played until they fell over.
I’ve tried to explain the sensation to others, but it’s too visceral, too real, too fucking beautiful to sum up in mere words. A games reviewer in a recent interview said that after playing he realised that he’d been crying. The interviewer laughed, but I completely understood. The holo-deck is here and it’s going to change everything.

Facebook recently purchased Oculus for two billion dollars. That’s two Instagrams. The question is why? Mark Zuckerberg said in a status update “At this point, we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.”

In other words, they’re taking Facebook, the most addictive social media platform on the planet, boiling it down and creating the crystal version.

Facebook VR (or whatever they’re calling it) will be based on vast social areas filled with waterfalls, marble and pleasant grassy knolls. (The Facebook campus in other words.) Your headset mic means you’ll be able to chat to your avatar friends, wherever they are in the real world. I imagine microtransactions will enable you to buy branded clothing. Branded clothing advertised from within the application. I assume you’ll even be given a sexy ‘home’ to invite friends to. Of course, the huge home cinema means you’ll be able to sit together and watch first run movies from the a Facebook movie streaming service. And, no doubt, you’ll be able to retire to the bedroom and show off your greased, virtual six-pack.

It’s real life, but a James Bond life where you live in a lush penthouse apartment with a heavily armed spaceship in the garage and unnaturally large genitals stashed in your virtual Comme Des Garcons jeans.

There are obviously huge dangers with a… Actually. Fuck it. Bring it on.

This article originally appeared in Adnews.

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