Neil here. Is it just me, or does it feel like each week in quarantine goes by a little faster?
Those first couple of days and weeks were almost unbearably tedious – but now, the time is positively flying. Maybe it’s because we’re resigned to our fate, and accepting this new reality has made it feel normal.
Or maybe it’s just a blur now that we all have so much less to do. John Steinbeck once wrote, “Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all.”
It sounds a bit lonely, doesn’t it? Even for those of us who are blessed enough to hunker down with the people they love the most – myself included – it takes a toll to spend so much time away from the rest of the world.
Human beings are social creatures. We’re pack animals. We need each other. This undeniable fact has come into razor-sharp focus over the past few months. What other explanation is there for virtual Zoom parties?
We’re so desperate for group connections that we’re using enterprise collaboration software just to get the meager high of a flat, awkward, 2D hangout. If you’ve been to one of these video-conferencing happy hours or FaceTime game nights, you know exactly what I mean. It feels better than nothing, but it’s not quite enough to replace what’s missing.
This is exactly why we’re seeing a huge trend towards more immersive experiences. Hell, if the coronavirus had happened ten years later, we’d all be wearing VR headsets, sitting in computer-generated conference rooms, and visiting each other face-to-face in cyberspace.
The fact is, the tech just isn’t there yet. But I have a sneaky feeling it will be soon… because the harsh reality of not having it around is so much clearer now.
Since we can’t sit around the dinner table with holograms of our extended family and friends, many people are turning to the next best thing: video games.
For the past decade or two, video games have trended towards more aggressive themes, like first-person shooters and other “fighting” games.
But right now, we’re seeing a fascinating trend towards video games that let you do… well, almost nothing. These games involve living out a sped-up, idyllic but largely mundane lifestyle. You run errands, go to work, talk to neighbors, and generally just enjoy yourself.
Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing,” released at the end of March 2020, is essentially a playful, pastel-colored depiction of a happy, relaxed life… and right now, it’s the second-best-selling video game of 2020.
In the game, you do favors for townspeople, collect seashells, decorate your home, plant flowers, catch fish, and visit your friends and family in their own virtual worlds. Without VR, it’s about as close as we can get to living a normal and happy life with the people we love.
As the coronavirus crisis winds down and people return to work, I expect to see huge amounts of VC funding moving in the direction of augmented and virtual reality – not just hardware, but also the software, AI, and other forces that power these systems.
The next six to twelve months in this space could be critical, so if you’re scouting for angel investments on your own, I suggest you strike while the iron is hot… because by the time the technology is ready for humanity, consumers will be chomping at the bit to use it.
And let me know if any other sectors have caught your eye lately. I look forward to hearing your point of view.
We’ll talk soon.
Until next time,