An Old Problem Threatens Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is (still) the brave new world, and like any new world it’s going to get polluted. If the experiences of – and I fear it will be – then VR has a problem. And it’s one as old as the digital hills. Female harassment:

So, there I was shooting down zombies alongside another real-time player named BigBro442. The other players could hear me when I spoke, my voice the only indication of my femaleness. Otherwise, my avatar looked identical to them.

In between a wave of zombies and demons to shoot down, I was hanging out next to BigBro442, waiting for our next attack. Suddenly, BigBro442’s disembodied helmet faced me dead-on. His floating hand approached my body, and he started to virtually rub my chest.

…Remember that little digression I told you about how the hundred foot drop looked so convincing? Yeah. Guess what. The virtual groping feels just as real. Of course, you’re not physically being touched, just like you’re not actually one hundred feet off the ground, but it’s still scary as hell.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

There are a lot of players in VR right now. Who can build VR for everyone, and not just replicate a Trump Locker Room? I’ll happily cheerlead for that team.

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