A growing number of companies are specializing in virtual reality experiences for wealthy real estate shoppers and VR may head to the non-luxury market next
I am sitting in a Starbucks with an architect. He hands me an Oculus virtual reality headset with a Samsung phone slipped into the goggle area. In his hands is an iPad. I put the headset over my eyes and the cafe disappears. Suddenly I am in Miami, inside a sleek luxury apartment. I can see white condo towers and water views from the vast windows.
I move out to the pool, a must for any luxury condo in Miami, and a menu appears offering me the chance to change the time of day simply by looking at the choice. I select sunset, the water in the pool moves with the breeze and I feel myself start to relax when the architects voice, seemingly coming from space, startles me.
In fact, he is still sitting across from me at the cafe, and I am now clutching the edge of the table to give myself a sense of where my body is in space. My eyes are telling me that I have just walked into a generously sized kitchen where different countertop marble color choices are now floating in front of me. My body says I am sitting down in a loud cafe and if I keep moving my head backwards and turning to look behind me, I am going to fall out of my chair.
Somewhere in my wandering around the virtual Miami bachelor pad I run across a beautiful model sitting out on the deck in a tasteful black dress. If you look at her face for a few seconds, she smiles at you, the architect, who is following my adventures, and my gaze, on the iPad tells me. The idea of forcing her to smile unnerves me even though I know she is not real, and I walk away.