A Quick Look at Virtual Reality Gaming. What Does the Future Hold?

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Virtual Reality is still very much in its infancy and has a long way to go before we see it really being a strong platform for video games.

The framework has been established to enable some really interesting games to be produced for the Virtual Reality and it’ll be exciting to see how developers tackle the medium.

So far, there are a variety of games being produced and adapted for Virtual Reality. Although many conventional and popular games will not be suitable to play with Virtual Reality technology due to issues like motion sickness, games like Minecraft are being adapted for the tech.

Steam is also currently beta testing its SteamVR Theatre mode which will theoretically mean you will be able to play any of your games with a headset.

Since many developers are unlikely to put time and effort into adapting older games for Virtual Reality, this move by Steam could open up some wonderful possibilities for the platform.

Such will allow older, but extremely atmospheric games, to be experienced in first person (literally). Virtual Reality specific game development will most definitely be slow for a while as developers try to conjure up new ideas instead of perhaps working on bringing older games into virtual reality.

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A promising looking immersive experience from P.O.L.L.E.N.
Image credit idigitaltimes.com

The danger with developers creating Virtual Reality specific games now is that many of them may fall into the trap of creating ‘walking simulators’. Games that really only involve walking around a pretty environment and occasionally interacting with things work well for VR, but they can often be lacking in gameplay and not created in a manner that actually makes them particularly interesting to play. In the beginning we may see the Virtual Reality market becoming saturated with this form of game, which could lead to the real beginning of VR in the gaming world being slow moving and lacklustre.

Albeit, there is hope for the early days of this new phenomenon, with a few interesting titles on the development radar.

Existing titles being adapted for the tech include Dying Light, Alien Isolation, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Elite Dangerous, among others. This is an exciting list of great games over a variety of genres hopefully meaning that future development will also maintain this great variety.

Fascinating looking games being newly developed for VR include; Hover Junkers, which essentially seems to be a game where you build machines out of scrap and fight other people, Rigs: Mechanised Combat League, which looks like a standard exciting Sci-Fi robot battling game and P.O.L.L.E.N seems like a genuinely enticing walking simulator experience as the protagonist tries to discover what happened on the space station on which they find themselves.

VR Gaming
The wacky and fun looking Hover Junkers.
Image credit hoverjunkers.com

There are more titles in the making for Virtual Reality but so far the line-up is looking promising and some unique and gripping titles should prevent the medium from being hijacked and buried in swathes of very similar and unimaginative games.

The other limitations of VR will contribute to some initial slow growth, with many people simply unable to afford the technology in its current state and at its current price range, with the price of the headsets as well as the companion equipment placing the VR well and truly out of many people’s affordability range.

However, as the technology develops and improves it is reasonable to assume that the overall price will come down and become more accessible. Games likely to induce motion sickness will also limit the platform in some cases. You can imagine what playing Portal with a VR headset would be like and I’m not sure if my stomach would cope with that experience, but as it stands, there are few games of that ilk appearing on the platform in the near future.

Overall it will be fascinating to see how the gaming industry approaches the platform and whether developers will explore the full creative scope that Virtual Reality offers them.

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