Harmonix Dev: Realistic VR is both ‘biggest hope’ and ‘biggest fear’

It seems that with each passing day virtual reality (VR) technology inches closer and closer to complete realism. The latest prototypes showcased at last week’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) proved that companies are closer than ever to pulling off consumer-ready VR, even if there’s still a little way to go before it gets here. But while truly convincing VR is something of a dream for many enthusiasts, others have some reservations about this eventuality. One such person is Devon Newsom from Rock Band developer Harmonix.


Newsom revealed as much speaking on the ‘Is This Real Life? No Escape From Virtual Reality’ panel at last weekend’s PAX East event, as reported by Gamespot. “My biggest fear is kind of my biggest hope,” the developer said of creating truly realistic VR. “That is, that we create a version of reality that is just as believable [as our world]. If that is possible, my fear is that why would you want to be in the real world?”

He went on to describe that a world in which VR is indistinguishable from real life as ‘pretty scary’. That said, Newsom also reasoned that technology similar to the likes of the Oculus Rift, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens HMD, might help people maintain social interactions while using such technology. Unlike VR HMDs, HoloLens doesn’t obscure the user’s vision of the real world, instead allowing them to interact with holograms found within it.

Harmonix itself has been working in VR recently. The company has its own project for the Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, named HMX Music VR. The music visualizer is yet to see a release on the device, but will hopefully arrive soon. The developer also recently announced the return of its once-popular music series in Rock Band 4. VRFocus will continue to follow Harmonix and its work in VR closely, reporting back with any further updates.