2.3 2090

The News

All the news, all the time.

9 August 2090

Press release

Trouble in Paradys: Virtual worlds, real targets

After a series of high-profile burglaries in an exclusive paradise zone, VR critics wonder: How real is too real?

By Lauren Beukes

Paradys is two things: a real-world paradise zone for the rich and famous who are not quite rich and famous enough to get to Mars, and the most popular virtual world where your avatar can rub shoulders with a who’s who of 21st-century celebrities from Beyoncé and Jay-Z for the nostalgiaphiles to breakout VR influencers like Star*Star and M@keMi. ParadysVR is known for its attention to detail, exactly replicating the beachside mansions and vineyard villas and penthouse apartments of its real-world tenants that you’ve seen on your entertainment network of choice, promising to catapult you into the most ReallyReal™ Rich & Famous experience possible.

Unfortunately, it’s exactly that high fidelity to life that has allowed an elite gang of criminals to precisely home in on their targets, using the virtual world to map the layout and exploit security weak points.

Paradys is currently down for maintenance while ReallyReal™ restructures, stranding millions of people in their real lives – a move that’s “shockingly inhumane”, according to one human-rights watchdog, VR4All. Director Allison Engels says they will be suing ReallyReal™ for damages.

“We’re talking about 5.5 billion climate refugees living in the worst-possible conditions. Virtual reality is vital for their mental health, for them to be able to have a sense of purpose and value, to be able to connect with friends and family, living or dead, through their avatars. In the two days it’s been down, we’ve already seen an uptick in suicides and domestic violence.”

ReallyReal™ spokesperson, Colin Ray, says, “It’s regrettable that a few bad apples would ruin it for the majority of our customer base, who are ordinary honest citizens desiring the luxury of the perfect escape. But we’re convinced that our new proprietary obfuscation technology that randomizes key details in every load-up will have us back up and running in no time.”

Investigations are ongoing and police say although the gang may have used VR to scout out the locations, they believe there was someone on the inside who let them into the real-world Paradys and helped facilitate the burglaries. Paradys residents with any information are urged to come forward.