This post is an excerpt from Charlie Fink‘s latest Forbes column: The OASIS In “Ready Player One” Runs On Speed And Storage. Out of respect for Fink, we’ve only posted part of the narrative. You can skip to the full piece here. Fink quoted ARtillry Intelligence in the piece but no money changed hands, as always.
The OASIS In “Ready Player One” Runs On Speed And Storage
by Charlie Fink, Forbes, 6/06/17
Donald DeLine, the producer of Steven Spielberg’s dystopian VR adventure, “Ready Player One” is an old colleague from my days at Disney in the 80s. He asked me to moderate a panel featuring him, screenwriter Zak Penn, Visual Effects Design Supervisor Alex Jaeger and boy genius actor Philip Zaho on Sunday, June 3rd, AT&T Shape Conference on the historic Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, CA, June 3rd.
This prompted me to see the movie again something I’ve been meaning to do since I saw the late-night sneak premiere on March 17 at the South by Southwest Festival. The second time through I got to savor the visuals. They are hard to fully comprehend while the drama plays in the foreground. The second time through the movie slowed down enough to I could take it all in. Spielberg at the height of his filmmaking prowess, orchestrating the work of hundreds of visual artists.
Fandom describes the OASIS of the movie this way: OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game). It costs only 25 cents to use and operate but in-game vending, teleportation, fuel, and almost everything else costs real-world money.
Last year, the book inspired me to write The Reality of Virtual Reality in Ready Player One, in which I compared the predicted future VR in the book with what we can do in VR today. I included it as a sidebar in the entertainment chapter of my book. The story hit a sweet spot. Even the author, Ernie Cline, reached out to me. Unfortunately, though fun, most of what I wrote was superficial and misdirected. Hopefully, this will set the record straight.
Consumer VR today is far from an OASIS. It really could be 2045, a mere twenty- seven years from now before a system like this is available. What we lack are real things in the real world to power convincing VR, like unlimited bandwidth with zero latency. If VR and AR are following the pattern of the development of the personal computer, as I contend in my book and frequent lectures, then we are still in the 1980s, a decade or more from the tipping point.
There are five areas where the VR experience needs to develop in order to realize the promised land of the movie: (1) contiguous worlds (2) bandwidth, (3) locomotion (4) haptics and (5) standards. In addition, the VR headsets people use to access the OASIS are utlra-high definition, capable of delivering photorealistic worlds so convincing a veteran user could be confused about what is real and what is virtual.
Contiguous worlds would not be apps we download. They would download in real time, in the background. As those with any home VR system can attest, changing from one experience, or universe, to another, is awkward at best. Even within the hundreds of worlds in Sansar and High Fidelity, users must pause to download additional content before proceeding from one world to another.
“Because today’s ruling hardware is mobile devices and PC’s, the dominant software on those machines – locally run apps — have become the sort of heir apparent delivery vessel for VR,” said ARtillry Intelligence Chief Analyst Mike Boland. “But apps aren’t always optimal or “native” to VR creating lots of friction. Web XR could solve some of that, as will faster 5G networks.”
Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.