Hyper-reality

In my view, most people that I speak with about the future, considerably underestimate the potential attractiveness of virtual environments. These can and have been used as synthetic substitutes for various real-world activities, where for instance travelling to the real-world venue is inconvenient (video conferencing calls are a small step in this direction). And yet the common come-back is that people will always inherently prefer the real world. Try telling that to the people queuing up to get into ‘The Void’ pop-up at Westfield London. This immersive 15 min Star Wars themed experience, described as ‘hyper-reality’, includes olfactory and haptic feedback in addition to more traditional visual virtual reality. Today, this is a really exciting attraction which delivers on the long-awaited promise of VR and pulls people into the physical spaces that offer it. However, tomorrow, the introduction of a viable alternative to reality surely poses the most significant long-range threat to investment in real estate that exists, as people start to choose exciting virtual environments over the more limited and mundane physical ones.