Virtual reality (VR) is not just here to stay; it’s here to lead the way in gaming innovation. In fact, many of the games released over the last of couple years have proven that VR belongs in every genre of gaming.
In a review of Beat Saber, The Verge recalls how the game brought rhythm-based gaming into the future, a test of musical and hand-eye coordination as well as a gateway activity into recreational exercise. Meanwhile, the list of best VR games for PC by HP points out how Star Trek: Bridge Crew allowed friends to explore the galaxy onboard the U.S.S. Aegis, an immersive, cooperative game in which every major decision affects the next. Not just for fans of Star Trek, the games dynamics make it an excellent bonding activity between social groups. Another awesome example is The Walking Dead. Following the cancellation of Overkill’s first-person shooter console version of the game, a new one takes its place, this time in VR. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners was released at the start of 2020, and players were surprised at how the new game brought fresh dynamics to the tired zombie genre, leveraging the possibilities of user interaction and rewarding players accordingly. In short, VR gaming has developed into a multi-genre platform that has something for any type of player. So why hasn’t VR gone mainstream yet?
New Games on the Horizon
As companies that develop and publish VR games continue to push the limits of what’s possible, there seems to be no doubt that 2020 will be another great year for immersive VR experiences — peppered with just the right amount of controversy. Set to be released in March 2020, Half-Life: Alyx has drawn a lot of flack from both new and old fans of the franchise for the fact that it’s exclusive to VR and will not be playable on anything else. From a business standpoint, this means that Valve will be missing out on PC and console sales. At the same time, Forbes identifies this a clear sign that Valve — a long-time player in the game development world — is ready to dedicate resources and commit to VR for the long-term. Considering Valve’s reputation in the industry, many other software and hardware developers could follow suit, paving the way for the rapid development of the medium towards mainstream success.
Where are the affordable VR headsets?
Currently, one of the most promising developments in VR devices comes in the form of the Oculus Quest. At less than $500 USD, the standalone set requires no other external wires or hardware, and can be used to play almost all of the most recent VR games. This price is bound to drop over time, and the tech behind it is bound to improve. Meanwhile, Sony has confirmed that the existing PlayStation VR headset will work with the upcoming PS5, which features significantly more advanced hardware than its predecessor. And seeing as they’ve already sold 3.2 million PlayStation VR units, a newer PSVR 2 is bound to be in development.
In short, 2020 might very well be the year in which VR truly breaks through as a mainstream gaming medium. Apart from being too expensive for most players, much of the opposition to VR comes from the fact that it’s a totally different experience compared to PC or console gaming. However, the gaming world reacted in the same way to mobile gaming when it first came out, citing the lack of familiar tactile elements in predicting its failure. Today, mobile gaming rules the world. And much like mobile, VR is well on the way to redefining the mainstream gaming experience. It just needs to be much more affordable, which could very well be what’s in store for 2020.
What are your thoughts on the future of Virtual Reality? Are you excited for PSVR2? Or is VR just a fad? Let us know in the comments!