The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality

Every now and then a perfect book comes out that captures a movement. Ray Kurzweil suggested in 2014 that Virtual Reality was going to hit its inflection point. It has.  Look at the data points: Facebook bought Oculus Rift, the only company to date (April 18, 2014) selling a virtual reality headset.  Sony enters the market in Q1 2015 with a consumer version of Project Morpheus.  Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and Google are right behind.  Estimates are forecast for total cumulative unit sales of 56.8m by K-Zero.  We are about ready to explode beyond our immersive imagination.  Couple these forecasts with Philip Rosedale and Ebbe Altberg’s two different keynotes at Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education – both portending a rise in avatar interfaces and a second Second Life focused on education – not the darker side of its old reputation.  The multiverse is expanding in every direction, and everyone is gearing up for it.

The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality came out in 2014 like a double underline, bold typeface edit on the year. The handbook is a just-in-time, intellectually ripe anthology of 44 chapters that deals with the key aspects of virtuality in online worlds. The book opens with my co-authored chapter that sets the tone of the book: a book that will become the definitive handbook on studying virtuality and designing virtuality for the next two decades.

Hinrichs, CEO of 2b3d Studios and his colleague, one of the virtuality framers, Bruce Damer from DigitalSpace, offer “a bird’s eye view of the origins, development and trajectory of digital virtuality.  We were both there, both implementing, both grabbing the hearts and minds, and both pushing the technology and methodologies into the future. Bruce moved on to looking at A-Life, while I formed 2b3d Studios to develop one virtual world after another.  We know what works, what the secrets are, and what the challenges are to frame how virtuality rolls out.  So, I’m going to use this book to help guide the dialogue even more.  This book is a testimony of literary thinkers,  who look at psychology, perceptions, culture, society, sound, image, economy, law, AI, A-Life, applications and on and on.  2b3d Studios are builders who have defined a lot of this discussion, and will jettison users even further into the future.

Since this is the book to read — I’m going to take a hard look at the book in the next blog sessions to help readers dig down from a practical perspective and talk about how to use it to get an advantage and provide access to virtual environment to wider audiences with greater impact.  I will give hints on how to think about virtuality.  How to identify its affect on your organization.  How it will help you adjust to the demands of globalization.  How we can teach you, guide you and support you in your virtual opportunities.

I will blog until I’m blue about how to enhance your physical world with an extended, value added virtual one.

Stay tuned.  We are going to bust this open just as Kurzweil suggested we all would.  I come armed with a golden rolodex and an award winning portfolio.

See you in a week.

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