Maggie Lane is a writer and producer on virtual reality experiences and covers the industry for various publications.
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You have to stop procrastinating. Maybe it’s time for some …
Bulletproof Coffee, Modafinil, Nootropics, Acid Microdose, Coffee Caffeine, bracelets caffeine, aromatherapy, noise-canceling headphones, meditation, custom workspaces, or productivity apps?
Whatever your choice, today’s workers (especially in the tech industry) will do anything to be more productive.
What we are looking for is that elusive, perfect or flow status. According to the researchers, someone in flow will experience a lack of sense of self, a decrease in fear, and time distortion. It’s peak performance coupled with a euphoric high. All your happy neurotransmitters fire, and you dorsolateral prefrontal cortex it performs differently – you don’t guess, it just flows to the next stages of the activity in question. And it turns out that you are acting at the highest level possible. Sounds amazing right?
But how do we invite this state in? A detailed piece Fast Company describes how extreme sports (pro surfing, steep incline skiing, skydiving, etc.) are the fastest way we’ve found to harness human flow. However, these hobbies are just that: extreme. They require a great deal of skill and can be dangerous. For example, Steven Kotler, a pioneer in flow state research, broke almost 100 bones As a journalist investigating the subject.
All of this brings us back to our collective (and very American) obsession with entry versus exit: are we getting the most out of the energy we put in? Despite all the bells and whistles at our disposal, we, as a society, are constantly decreasing productivity as time goes on.
In 2014, a Gallup poll found that the average American worker only spends a depressing 5% of their day on flow. An Atlantic 2016 Article The main hypothesis that the main reason we are decreasing productivity as a workforce is that we are not introducing new technologies fast enough. Technology like robotics and smartphones could add a boost to productivity, but they are not being integrated into the workplace. The business models are, for the most part, not that different from 10 years ago. In essence, we are bored – we are not being challenged in an attractive way, so we are working harder than ever but getting less.
But what if entering the flow state could be as easy as playing a video game?
I met Job Stauffer, Co-Founder and CCO at Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment. When I was, in fact, procrastinating from work. I was scouring Instagram and saw a clip of Job playing RaveRunner. Since I love rhythm games, I immediately requested a version. However, I would soon learn that this was not just a simple VR experience.
RaveRunner was built for Vive, but it ran easily on my Rift. When I first entered the game, I felt a bit overwhelmed: there was a lot of empty and dark space; almost like something out of TRON. It was a bit scary, which is actually very helpful for entering the flow state. However, my fear soon dissipated, as before me was a transparent yellow lady (Job calls her “Goldie”) dancing to the beat, providing a moving demonstration for the game. Unlike the hacking nature of Beat Saber, where you smash blocks with lightsabers, in WaveRunner you tap blue and orange glowing circles with your controllers and move your entire body to the beat of the music.
WaveRunner has a softer, more feminine touch, and it wasn’t just Goldie. Behind the design of this game is a woman, Ashley Cooper, who is responsible for developing the game mechanics that can help a player achieve flow. “Being in the flow state is incredibly rewarding, and we strive to help people do so by creating experiences like RaveRunner,” says Cooper. RaveRunner is a game where you can get lost and by stimulating so many senses it allows you to let your higher level thoughts escape – you become purely reactionary and nonjudgmental.
In essence – flow.
After playing in this world for an hour, I called Job and learned more about his company. In addition to RaveRunner, Orpheus also released two other experiences: MicrodoseVR and SoundSelf. I got my first hands-on demonstration of all three products in one sitting at a cannabis tech event in Los Angeles. THE. Grassfed is specifically geared toward the higher-brow tech enthusiast; and the Orpheus suite of products fits the bill.
While lying in a dome with meditative lighting; a subwoofer purring below me; SoundSelf gave me one of the most profound experiences I have ever had in virtual reality. I sang into a microphone and my voice directly influenced the images before me. I felt that my spirit, the God particle, whatever you call it, was being stimulated by all these sensations. It was such a beautiful experience, but it was also pure fluidity. I felt like 2 minutes passed in the experience. I would have bet a hundred bucks on this. But I was inside for 10. Time was meaningless, a key indicator of flow status.
The next was Microdose VR. I first tried Microdose VR in 2016 at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Esalen is the birthplace of the human potential movement, so it was fitting that it was there, where I initially captured the potential of virtual reality for transformational experiences. Every other experience I’d tried up to that point had been First Person Shooters or 360 Video Marketing Pieces. And not to belittle those experiences, but I felt that VR should be capable of doing MORE. Android Jones’ microdose blew my mind. As with SoundSelf, I completely lost track of time. I was directly impacting the visuals with my body movements, and sound was also a major factor. It was the first time I could imagine staying in virtual reality for hours. More than anything, it was an experience that was only possible within virtual reality. The game was the biggest rush of euphoria I’ve ever felt in VR, and that feeling was repeated at this event.
As consumers, we have the power to play games that are intrinsically related to personal care, but we often have no options available. Job was driven down this path when he asked himself “if I spend an hour of my time a day playing a video game, what will I personally gain from that invested time, and will I even have time to do really good things?” for me?”
Orpheus pioneered the fusion of game design with traditional self-care practices such as meditation, dance / exercise, listening to music and creating art: “In short, we just want players to feel amazing and not regret the time they have spent. playing our games, allowing them to walk away knowing they have leveled up, rather than their avatars in-game alone. “
One thing that will make it easy for people to try these experiences is portable headphones like the ViveFocus and Oculus Quest. Being untethered will allow people to travel with VR wherever they go. Job sees this fundamental change right in front of us, as “video games and personal care are about to become one of the same.” A paradigm shift. “That’s why all of Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment’s immersive projects will be designed for this critically important wave of VR.”
Orpheus is not just a VR company, although its first three experiences are indeed for VR. As they expand, they hope to open up to a variety of types of immersive experiences, and are continually looking for projects that align with their holistic mission.
At the end of the day, I love that Orpheus is trying to access a part of the market that so desperately needs your attention. If we don’t make self-care an important part of virtual reality today, we will continue to use virtual reality as a distraction, rather than a tool to improve our daily lives.
As for me, along with the mint tea, grapefruit candle, and music that make my focus possible, I’ll now add some Orpheus games to my flow repertoire.