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Will live music performance move into virtual worlds?

I’ve never been a big video game guy. Back when I played at all, games like Defender and Ms. Pac-Man were the big thing. Nonetheless, I’ve read a number of articles lately that make the point that video games have become incredibly immersive and realistic, in some cases creating a second reality for players. Here’s one such article expressing the concern that young men are so devoted to video games that they are not getting work and building future careers.

I have mentioned in previous writings my observation that part of what is lowering the attendance of live music shows (and thus musicians’ paychecks) is the competition from computer screens: apps, social media, games, etc. As video games get better and more immersive (especially via virtual reality technology) I have to wonder whether interest in live music will continue to drop.

But what if video games are part of the solution to this problem? In many video games a lot of the fun is wandering around and exploring the strange reality of the game. Will technology develop to allow musicians to perform in these game worlds? By this I mean could disparate musicians, separated by location, plug their instruments into their computer and perform together in the world of a video game?

This kind of Internet jamming has happened before though it’s certainly not ubiquitous. I think latency (the slight delays that occur when electronic signals are sent over distances) would be a problem at first. To some degree, this could be solved by building a certain time delay into performances. But there would doubtless be additional technical challenges.

That said, it’s an intriguing premise. I could see band members using avatars to present themselves in the world of a video game. Imagine watching a band of three headed aliens, or a group made up of famous musicians. (Bach jamming with Hendrix?!) Or perhaps musicians could “inhabit” avatars of Josie and the Pussycats or Alvin and the Chipmunks.

One thought on “Will live music performance move into virtual worlds?

  1. just look at education. it costs more to be there, but just watching is cheap these days. and people still pay to go be there live.

    you also get more time with the person running the class. over at brown, the instructor spells this all out– youre paying for his time, use it

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