The future of virtual reality can be found in the fiction of Snow Crash, Oculus’ Max Cohen believes — but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s seminal book based on a future world driven by consumerism and warped by privatization, people seek escape through a game-like metaverse using a variety of virtual reality rigs. The sophistication and cost of the VR gear impacts the way a person appears in the virtual universe and how they perceive things.

Cohen’s view of Snow Crash as a predictor of VR things to come isn’t about the fictional world’s hyperinflation, cybernetic pitbulls or the growing social importance of massively multiplayer online games. It’s about the broad variety of VR devices used in that fiction. He sees the future of VR as being not experiences delivered to a singular sort of device, but something more akin to television, where a wide variety of devices will all be able to access the same sorts of content.

And as with television, that diversity of devices will bring with it something we’re already starting to see: low-end virtual reality. While mobile phones can deliver a VR experience, it’s not even close in quality or immersion to what you’d find in high-end VR headsets powered by computers. Read More