Hardware and Gear

Published on July 14th, 2014 | by gareth


5 Things V.R. Needs To Do To Be the Future Of Gaming

The rise of Oculus and Sony’s Project Morpheus has poised gaming on the verge of a new revolution, one of virtual-reality.  While this is not the first time that virtual-reality has been attempted in gaming, it is the first time that the technology is truly accessible to the masses and can deliver the interactive experience that gamers want.  During my coverage of E3 as well as C.E.S. I have been able to get up close and personal with the Oculus and found that while it showed promise, there certainly is a long way to go before it becomes as standard as a mouse, keyboard, or console control for gamers. This is not to say that in time they will take their place as regular parts of the gamers arsenal but simply that they are not there yet.  Looking at the technology does show a lot of promise however older games such as Half Life 2 didn’t really do that much for me when I play them and in fact caused me a headache and disorientation.  This for me is extremely rare as I do not get sensitive to motion in this manner and the need to be near a ledge or counter did not help as you do feel unsteady when you stand to play the game. When seated, you get a much better experience and I was told that the version I played Half Life 2 on was an older version and that the newer versions do much better with providing the ultimate game experience. Ok fair enough but if I am going to strap on a pair of high tech and at times heavy scuba googles to my head, then I need something to really make it worth the experience. Enter Alien Isolation. The hotly anticipated survival horror game was demoed at E3 on both traditional and Oculus and took the horror and immersion of the game to a new level. The game was creepy enough on a standard monitor but now having the creature stalk you and appear in a wide ranging immersive setting was something that people found truly disturbing. So while the game of tomorrow seem to be clearly designed with virtual reality devices as an option the question I need to ask is if consumers are ready to make the leap. While no one is sure what the final cost will be, many have tagged Oculus in the 2K range and Morpheus as being possibly half of this price. Like any new technology there will be people as well as industry professionals who have to have the latest and greatest and rush out to buy it regardless of the cost. For many consumers, they may find the price tag hard to swallow and will likely take a wait and see approach before making the investment. This to me is a sound approach as with all tech, prices will come down in time and savvy consumers will want to see that V. R. devices have become supported by a wide range of games and that the experience is one worth investing in.   Here are some of the biggest things that the technology must address in my opinion.

  1. Demand. Show consumers why they need this device and why it is the future of gaming. This can be done through mall tours, kiosks and store displays. Those of us who have tried it know what it offers but most consumers do not have access to trade shows and conventions and will be hesitant to purchase such a costly device on reputation alone.
  2. The Gimmick Factor.  Show consumers that this is more than a fad and that this is here to stay. Consumers have seen costly items such as 3d monitors and TVs not take off as expected for gamers and as such show them the investment is one worth making. We also do not need a repeat of 3D movies where studios eager to cash in started flooding the market with converted 3D films that were a patch on films shot in 3D which greatly undermined the tech.
  3. Have games people will actually want to play. Survival Horror and First Person Shooters are a good example due to their immersive nature but there is a market that likes casual games, puzzle games, and fighting games as an example, make sure they are considered as well.
  4. Have a good warranty. I know if I am being asked to shell out this kind of cash I want promises that if the thing breaks I am not going to be stuck with a paperweight. The fastest way to kill the new tech would be for a bug ridden layout and defective units that keep consumers away.
  5. Cost.  There are ways to make the money long term such as licensing the tech to developers. A developer can increase sales potentially by touting the compatibility with a V.R. device so it stands that companies need to make the devices as cheap as possible. We know console companies regularly lose money on the consoles they sell but make it up on other streams. This should be a path V.R. companies take as getting the devices into the hands of the masses is key, and I am not sure I know many gamers under 30 who can drop 2K on a device if they are not working in the industry.

The future looks bright it just remains to be seen what Facebook has planned for Oculus and where this promising tech will be in five years, I for one look forward to seeing more of it and hopefully adding it to my gaming experience in the near future on a regular basis.




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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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