The Company Welcomes you To OTHERWORLD The new generation of gaming.
Welcome to real life 2.0.
Are you ready to play?
There are no screens. There are no controls.
You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too.
In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break.
You can indulge your every desire.
Why would you ever want to leave?
Step into Otherworld.
Leave your body behind.
Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have created a brilliant and terrifying view of a possible future that’s not far away. OTHERWORLD asks the question we’ll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?
I step through the opening and into another reality. And damn, is it amazing. It may not be Earth, but it’s no game, either. With an Otherworld headset, you can see, hear and touch, but that’s the extent of your sensory experience. Here, I’m immediately hit by the fragrance of flowers. I inhale deeply as a light breeze ripples the hem of my robe. I’m standing on a balcony on a tall white building. I can feel the floor beneath my feet. I reach out for the metal railing and it’s warm from the sun. Far below me is a beautiful city surrounded by tall stone walls. Beyond the walls lies a vast green land. I can see the hazy outline of mountains in the distance. Inside the city walls, there are other white buildings, all marvels of modern architecture. They’re linked by a paved path that snakes through the town. I’m watching a driverless pod navigate the curves in search of its next passenger when a magnificent bird lands on the railing beside me. Its face is golden and its feathers a shimmering iridescent green. Intellectually I know these are graphics. Every other part of me believes it’s all real. I can see the shaft in each of the bird’s feathers and every scale on its feet. The creature regards me with an intelligent, slightly hostile expression. Then it squirts a dollop of guano onto the balcony and flies off toward the puffy white dream clouds that decorate the sky.
I turn around and see that the portal to the setup environment is gone. In its place is a set of glass doors. They slide open easily, granting me access to an apartment. On a nearby side table is a tablet. It lights up as I approach, offering an impressive home decorating menu (starting with Amish farmstead, Argentinian estancia and Ashanti traditional), along with the options to build your own pets, children and companions from scratch. I quickly scroll through the companion menu—just to see what’s available. I’m expecting a good snicker, but it seems disappointingly clean. And even if it weren’t, I remind myself, I’m not here to play house with some AI hottie. I’m here to find Kat. I toss the tablet onto the couch and head straight for the front door.
The hallway outside my apartment is empty. I take a glass elevator to ground level and it deposits me at the bottom of a silent atrium. The plants soaking up the digital sunlight are unlike any I’ve ever seen in New Jersey, but I could swear they’re all real. I can smell the soil they’re growing in. I can see the tiny ridges and valleys on their leaves. I reach out and grab one of the round red fruits dangling from a nearby tree. I bite into it and I can feel and hear my teeth break through its skin. The flesh is sweet and smells like a plum. There is nothing about the experience that feels artificial—nothing to remind me that my brain has teamed up with software to trick me. In fact, there’s only one thing about this whole experience that strikes me as odd: There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. The building is empty.
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