While it’s an exciting time with the Half-Life franchise finally returning in the form of Half-Life: Alyx, there’s also a fair share of people who are not too happy in the way it’s returning. Alyx will be a VR-only experience, with no announced plans to come in any non-VR way. Those who haven’t gotten on that train yet (or simply isn’t a fan of the tech) have had a sour taste because of it. But well, when you hear what the main man behind Valve thinks about virtual reality, the move makes sense, kind of.
In a video interview with Gabe Newell with IGN, which you can see below, he details the grand vision he sees for the evolving virtual reality technology. He likens it to The Matrix, a film about people who are trapped in a simulated reality. He thinks VR is taking us closer to that kind of world than people realize. While he isn’t being literal in the sense that we’re all going to be trapped in fully simulated worlds soon, he thinks those not looking at VR will find themselves left behind as it shapes our experiences and lives later. He goes as far as saying it’ll even be extinction for those not dabbling in the tech.
“We’re way closer to The Matrix than people realize,” Newell says. “It’s not gonna be The Matrix. The Matrix is a movie and it misses all the interesting, technical subtleties and just how weird the post-brain computer interface world is gonna be. But it’s gonna have a huge impact on the kinds of experiences that we can create for people.”
The sentiment has been one expressed before, particularly in relation to Half-Life: Alyx, and also makes the move to VR-only for the project make more sense. It’s obviously quite the heady thought process, but who knows where the technology will take us. VR isn’t exactly booming, but the technology is just now getting to a point where it’s becoming slightly accessible to a wider audience. We’ll just have to see what the future holds.