Virtual reality is here and the future is now... I think.
May 14, 2016

Virtual reality has been the source of jokes, parody and big dreamers for a long time in comedy, science fiction and science fantasy; being able to strap on a headset and be whisked away to other worlds within the comfort of your own home. Now that the technology has been released to the public market and so long as you have a lot of space around your computer desk to avoid strangling yourself with the cables and have a computer powerful enough to run Crysis five times over, you too can experience THE FUTURE - Oh, and be able to shell out six hundred or so dollars. Can’t forget the price tag in experiencing THE FUTURE.

My cynicism against the current library of games for VR (virtual reality) aside, the technology has gone from a pipe dream to a proof of concept to a tangible thing we can handle and bring into our homes. So far it’s been proven that the technology works and can work well when programming care has gone into a game, however we’re left with a lot more glorified tech demos and mini-game collections than full fledged games. Investing in a new console typically comes down to what the library has to offer in terms of gaming taste from person to person, and if the current selection of VR titles in any indication, I’m likely to not invest in a headset anytime soon if ever. Nothing so far seems to really merit strapping the headset on and sitting down for three plus hours like someone would do at a PC or console, as once the glamor of VR wears off the games end up being decent at best - And from what I’ve seen that glam-value wears off fast.

The biggest takeaway for me so far is that despite the development kits being out for so long, developers still have a lot to learn with this fledgling technology. Use of perspective for puzzle or sandbox-building games are a good enough start, however a lot of it has just been ‘look around this object to find what you need’, nevermind the gun or archery games (that have been released in droves) that exploit the one to one movement and little else. Most of what’s been released has been developers asking the question of what they can do with the technology without committing to a risky developmental venture. Now that VR has been released and is being covered, the question of what can be done has been answered; now it’s a matter of throwing caution to the wind and seeing what the creative developer minds have in store for the consumers. We need to move away from tech demos and coffee break-length games, otherwise VR headsets will make for an interesting talking piece on your mantle instead of being a viable piece of gaming hardware.

As much as it sounds like I’m harping against the less than ideal selection current selection of VR games (including ports), I’m really quite glad that this technology has become available and soon to be accessible from store shelves. I’m most looking forward to what will come of RPGs that better allow players to immerse themselves in the roleplaying aspect, to what multiplayer will do for human to human interactions (like Hover Junkers where you can shoot someone and then wave at them which is delightfully silly), or even what VR will do for therapeutic purposes like for social disabilities or training for public speaking. Until VR goes from being an expensive luxury to something that can be taken seriously as a candidate when debating what the best gaming platform is, I’ll be saving my excitement (and money).

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honestgamer honestgamer - May 15, 2016 (09:21 PM)
I have a machine powerful enough to run the Oculus Rift, but that was it for me. I'm completely broke now, and not likely to recover anytime soon, which means VR is off-limits right now. It's a shame, too, because I'd really like to strap on a headset and give Project CARS a try, in its VR form. Until I can afford to buy a headset, I won't be able to try VR, because I live on the Oregon Coast and there are no stores nearby that will demo a headset. I imagine that's true a lot of places, and until that changes, the tech is likely to remain a tantalizing dream for most people I would classify as "normal." At least until the PlayStation headset releases. I imagine that will accelerate VR's movement into the consumer sector.
Dinoracha Dinoracha - May 16, 2016 (11:57 AM)
@honestgamer - Supposedly tech stores are doing more demos and displays now that the Kickstarter backers are being finalized and shipped which has me interested to make a trip to one of these said stores, but still; that price tag and current library. Oof. OOF.

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