The Shifted Reality Manifesto
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will change marketing, and ultimately the world
1. Virtual Reality is the most accessible disruptive technology ever
Disruptive technologies face the hurdles of 3C when going mainstream: cost, content and culture. At the dawn of the PC era you had to invest a fortune in a disproportionately large beige box sitting on your desk - and there was not much to use it for, initially. Smartphones really became mainstream when the cost went down, the content - the app ecosystem - became abundant, and it was not a cultural faux pas anymore to stare at your phone in company. AR failed (temporarily) because people thought walking around with a computer on your head is not appropriate. Virtual Reality is more accessible than any of the previous disruptive technologies. All you need is a $20 cardboard to start your journey. Content creators have all the tools to put you on the hook (360 cameras, game engines), and culturally it's not much different from playing a computer game at home. It's a revolution destined to be successful.
2. One Personal Reality
IRL Reality might be perceived differently by its observers, but ultimately it's one single reality. Changing something in IRL changes everyone's reality. Augmented Reality changes the perception, but not the underlying world. Virtual Reality, on the other hand, is a revolution of fragmented realities. People can and will live in radically different Personal Realities, occasionally crossing paths in IRL and, as the technology evolves, in the virtual world.
3. Time and place will lose their meanings
You can be anywhere, at any real or imaginary place; in the past, the present or the future. IRL time travel and teleportation might never be possible, but in your Personal Reality it will be your everyday experience (as if "everyday" will have a meaning). The passing of time will become fluid. You can rewind or fast forward your reality - ultimately what you perceive as your life.
4. IRL becomes a luxury
The amount of virtual products available will explode, transforming whole industries. Experiences will be downloaded in a matter of seconds. Watching a concert, or going on a trip to see the Pyramids will become trivial, and won't require you leaving your house. The economics behind this change will make IRL experiences a real luxury, a privilege of a few.
5. We buy experiences
Virtual Reality is all about experience. We live in the era of individual factories and production queues, custom made-to-order products and the immersive revolution. All of these will transform commerce as we know it. Sales is no longer about the actual product: it's a theme park of excitement. Nike might continue to sell shoes, but most importantly it will sell the pure experience of freedom and achievement you feel when exercising. You don't really even need those shoes anymore.
6. We will see worlds built on brand essence
The social media, reintroducing direct connections between companies and customers, was a revolution rediscovering something we lost: the directness of the original ancient marketplace. The rise of Virtual Reality brings us to unchartered waters. There are very few companies where the brand is more important than the actual product. In the future it has to be the opposite way. You cannot build a world on a product, but whole realities can be and will be built on brand essence.
7. Our body learns virtual
It's not just about our brain and eyes, trying to learn Virtual Reality. Full body virtual experience will take over... and we're not talking about porn. Virtual Reality will change medicine as we know it. The first in line will be psychology, psychotherapy and pain management. Healthcare will learn to communicate through virtual, establishing virtual hospitals and treatment centres. Biofeedback and the full live rendering of the human body will revolutionise not just the gaming industry, but the way we live.