Sword Art Online is one of the best, if not the best, Anime about virtual reality games… in which you can die!
Other than the dying part, SAO really got us hooked on the idea of jumping to an exciting world, with other players and cool self-aware NPCs! This leads to the question of when will we be able to just lay down and enjoy a virtual skirmish.
So… when will VR be like SAO? When will VR be real?
Let’s approach this issue and start delving deep on the subject of when VR becomes reality – again, except the dying part.
Partial VR: 7-10 Years Away From Mainstream
On one hand, partial VR seems pretty close to becoming mainstream. We call it partial because it’s not SAO level – it happens with headset-like gadgets, such as you see discussed in our Virtual Reality section (Oculus, HTC, Gear VR).
The costs of VR are still pretty high, and the experiences while they are amazing are still quite simple, so the focus isn’t there yet.
We expect Partial VR to become mainstream in about 10 years.
Full VR: 25-35 Years Away From Mainstream
In order to achieve full VR, or Sword Art Online Tier, humanity needs to have a deep understanding of Brain-Computer interfacing, and this is still a pretty new branch of science.
Our hope is that when VR research gathers more press and becomes a focus, new breakthroughs will happen at a faster rate, converging on Full VR in about 15 years.
Of course we would love this technology to be available sooner rather than later, but some experts even point out to 35 years, so that’s a big deadline (one we hope to meet, but we would like to get there sooner…)
Some Variables to Consider:
There are a lot of variables that can impact the deadline here, like the law of exponential growth we experience in the technologic field.
This can speed up the process, or the absence of it delay it. On the other hand, the researchers who pioneer VR have all the power to shape how that field of study will evolve.
Finally, the potential for unhealthy addiction on Virtual Lives really scares you when you consider there will be thousands upon thousands wanting to live virtually discarding their actual reality, allowing their body to decay while they level up.
So, when will VR be like SAO or when will we have a real life Sword Art Online style of game? It’s complicated to say, but don’t hold your breath at least for the next 10 years.