Technical problems will eventually be resolved. The crux of VR involvement is what many are saying here: we need an “excuse” for involvement. It’s an ancient need. Think about playing cards. That’s just an excuse to sit around and shoot the bull. Like monkeys picking fleas off each other, we need a reason to congregate. That’s a simple social truth.
So what is inhibiting this?
Richardus.Raymaker is right in listing the lack of chat as the #1 problem: (we need) “A good chat system and IM system. So people can communicate and call each other. There’s no way to communicate in high fidelity. Except voice that people not always can or want to use.”
Think about the social uses of text chat and IM. When I used Second Life I rarely used voice to talk to strangers. That’s probably because I am female, and wanted to know if the person I was talking to was going to go off on some droolingly obscene rant. I had to get to know them first. So, text. Then, when I was sure they weren’t a pervert, I’d go to something more intimate, maybe voice, maybe IM. Or maybe we would never develop a level of connection that went beyond text. There are many levels of connection available.
That’s not the only scenario that points out the social differences in these kinds of communication. Think about the private IM you might make to a friend in a group–it’s supportive, it’s a closer connection. Or joining group chat at an event–a meeting of like minds in a public space. There are a lot of nuances that develop out of these different kinds of conversations. I agree with Dr Fran: 'The one problem with performances in HiFi is that it’s hard to have a conversation while they are ongoing. One thing that I always likes about SL was that I could chat with the folks in the audience while watching the show, or dancing, or having a private convo with someone else."
Think about the value of text chat as a transcript of a meeting. As a way to get up to speed when you come late to an event. Think of IM and group chat as a way to encourage a small group, or even to say something really intimate to a close friend.
Maybe I am just a tender little snowflake, but I think expecting newcomers to jump right into voice might make some of them, especially females, reluctant to participate. Worth considering, anyway.
That said, I also think games are a great idea.