Will virtual reality raving actually be as good as the real thing? - - Mixmag

Will virtual reality raving actually be as good as the real thing?

The future of clubbing is here, you can view it through a headset

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Illustration: Alex Jenkins
  • 1 December 2016

2016 has been like a fairytale. Not the modern day, Disney kind, but an original Brothers Grimm type of story, unfolding in relentless bleakness as if penned by the two brothers who more than lived up to their family name.

From Bowie and Brexit to Prince and President Trump, it’s been a dismal 11 months so far, and opportunities to escape everyday life are in dire need. Clubs have always existed as spaces to meet this requirement, providing enclosed havens in which a potent combination of music and atmosphere combines to induce boundless good feeling.

Last month Boiler Room announced plans for a project which will enable escapism from reality into the virtual realm, launching a VR venue in London next year that will stream across the globe. It’s the first of its kind, although PlayStation has released VR shooter games set in technicoloured dreamscapes with thumping electronica soundtracks such as Rez Infinite.

Inception has been called on to work on the project. The VR company’s CV includes work with Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike and Mystery Jets, and an experience that will be the “definition of immersive” has been promised by its CEO. Whether you’re using the £3 Google Cardboard or can afford the £700 HTC Vive will presumably have an impact (perhaps the latter will grant you access to the Virtually Important Person room).

Physicality is a prominent and thrilling feature of clubs: traversing through bustling bodies, sweat dripping from the ceilings, screams­ of the audience in your ear. But it’s not without its drawbacks, from unwanted harassment to shivering in the taxi rank outside. So, the question arises, can virtual reality raving ever be as good as the real thing?

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