Stop searching for killer apps, create a killer existence
Interesting article in Venture Beat that gets at the heart of why WebVR is such a powerful concept (old, just stumbled across it again). Zeros in on the lack of friction and ease of creating simple cross-platform experiences, but goes beyond that to illustrate a number of situations and user experiences that rely on the underlying nature of the web.
The article closes with this
Here’s how Thomas Balouet, cofounder of WebVR-based startup LucidWeb, explains it: “You know that feeling you have when you just want to check a cooking recipe on the Internet, and two hours later you’re reading an article about Patagonia on Wikipedia? Well, imagine you put on your headset to watch a cool relaxing experience, and 15 minutes later you find yourself talking with friends on top of a mountain or flying over your home town. That’s what the Metaverse would be, and this kind of situation would be possible only with deep-linking, one place bringing you to another one related to it, without you having to come back to a common place, or even realizing you’re leaving the first place. Only WebVR can enable that.”
Being in the VR industry, I hear a lot about the search for the killer VR app — an app that will finally get mainstream users flocking to VR. Well, maybe we’re looking in the wrong place for that trigger. Maybe it’s not an app that we should be looking for but a platform that offers a paradigm shift, fuelled by the web. An interconnected array of virtual reality experiences, tools, and products could blow our collective minds.
This idea that searching for the "killer app" is misguided has been something we've talked about for years at Georgia Tech, in our Ubicomp, Wearable and AR groups. It's why I'm focused on the web and on creating user environments that can run multiple apps at once: AR (and VR) is about the lump sum of many experiences that users can bounce between or combine together as they see fit.
Making AR and VR mainstream is not about finding the AR or VR unicorn, the single thing that we can't quite see yet that will rescue us from gimicks and not-quite-there experiences. It's about the sum total of many useful things, and an environment that puts user's in control. SteamVR and Oculus Home and the GearVR and Daydream environments are about putting the platform in charge, and this needs to change if VR and AR are going to succeed beyond niche markets.
We even adopted a term for this idea: the Killer Existence. So, stop searching for killer apps, and focus on creating a killer existence for users.