Unity CEO argues games ARE art, wants Jurassic Park in VR

TR: [Deus Ex creator] Warren Spector recently said that VR is a fad, and people look silly doing it. What are your thoughts on that?

JR: That's typical Warren Spector. Look, he's one of my favourite people. I know him, he's an awesome guy and I wouldn't want to contradict him, but he's only right if you're talking about 2016.

I don't mean that people don't want to look silly - people look silly having sex for God's sake, but they still do it. That's not necessarily the criteria. Turn the sound off at any disco and film it - who wouldn't look like an idiot? I don't go anymore, but my kids do. Looking an idiot isn't a criteria.

Beefy PC

VR in 2016? Better grab one of these...

What is a criteria is this: we haven't figured out what fun is, and that's going to take a couple of years. We're also in a reality where today's mainstream computers can't run VR. It's going to be next year's high-end, water-cooled PCs in 2016 [that can run VR], and in 2017 it'll be mainstream devices like laptops - and no longer an expensive, or rich person's game.

People will already have the portable that they want to put their Oculus Rift or Vive or HoloLens into. When that's true is the time that we'll solve the problem of what's fun. I remember when I said that mobile gaming was a fad, but that was long before smartphones. Warren created Deus Ex, so he's a God. What else can I say? Even Gods can be wrong.

TR: How do you see VR taking off?

JR: I think it'll be more than games. I know what experience I want right now, and it's not a game. I want somebody to perfect a full VR camera and hang fifty of them in the coolest places on Earth - from Times Square to the centre of Tokyo Subway, to the dark side of the moon.

I want to put on my headset and travel the world to see what's happening right now. I want to put one in the middle of a football field during an NFL game, or hanging 10 feet off the ground. I'd go every for a new forty-five-minute experience every night.

Beefy PC

There are gaming experiences too - I definitely want to imagine the next Jurassic Park in VR, where I'm right in the middle of it. Mother of God I want that, but it's a couple of years out - we haven't even figured out the cameras for that yet.

TR: What are the biggest challenges facing augmented reality?

JR: Many AR experiences will feel like gaming, but I think AR is likely to draw more non-gaming applications simply because of the way it works. It's going to take longer for AR because you want it to recognise all of the things in your environment - not just block them off, mask them and then assign values.

You might not care if something's a quiche Lorraine but you want to know it's a piece of food. Even the high-end facial recognition stuff gets a cat right three times out of four, whereas a two-year-old can recognise a cat one-hundred per cent of the time, so it's going to take a while before we've got the software to do it. It's just software and data, but we need tons of it, and we don't have it all - but we will. It'll probably take until 2019 or 2020 for computers to fully realise that.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft HoloLens

TR: What do you think AR will do for gaming?

JR: Some amazingly cool things that are more VR-like in AR will be awesome. Who doesn't want to play an RTS projected onto a table, where you can move stuff around and have them shoot at each other, and pick people up and move them? I would be in heaven.

Why would you ever need an electric train set in your house when you could have one actually in your house? And you'd never have to put it away - you'd just take your glasses off. But most of these things are three, four or five years out, and that's my point about Warren being right for this moment and wrong for the arc of time.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.