Fans of the metaverse might briefly remember that period, 2003-2006, when all the world's companies leapt upon Second Life as a new digital avenue for brand expansion, synergy, and other ultimately pointless ways to invest their marketing money. Well, good news! Because now the Oculus Rift is available, there's a whole new way to "communicate your brands message." Supermarket chain Tesco are getting in first, with a virtual recreation of a supermarket.
I would play this. I will "play" this. A trailer of your consumerist future awaits below.
I took a 15 minute break this morning to answer my door to the Tesco man, who each week visits my house to deliver my supply of bagels, Pepsi Max and fine olives. But just because the food now comes to my door doesn't mean I don't long to visit the nightmarish capitalist warehouse of the modern supermarket. The slick floors, the artificial lighting, the company-specific radio stations.
The Ballardian banality of it makes it the perfect setting for virtual reality. While we're re-creating unpleasant modern experiences, can I get a similar experience set inside a roadside service station?
The only downside/upside is that in the virtual version, I can't go in for some toilet paper and come out with three bags of crisps, some cereal, and a crate of beer. Not yet anyway, though I assume that's where Tesco and advertising agency FIGUREdigital hope this will go.
There doesn't seem to be a way to download and try it yet. Maybe in the meantime you should explore Jerry's apartment from Seinfeld instead.