Ubisoft's Star Trek: Bridge Crew has an exciting bit of news for fans looking forward to the virtual reality simulator. They not only unveiled the official release date for the game, but they also rolled out details for another bridge crew that will be playable upon release.
A press release sent out by Ubisoft indicated that Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be available starting May 30th this spring for the PlayStation VR headset, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The game was originally due for release on November 29th, 2016 but was delayed. In an added bit of news Ubisoft ratcheted up the excitement levels by announcing that the bridge from the original U.S.S. Enterprise, from the very first Star Trek, will be playable in the game.
That's right, the bridge from the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 that was featured in the sci-fi series when it first aired some 50 years ago. This iconic bridge will join the likes of the U.S.S. Aegis, which is the second bridge available to utilize in the VR experience based on the Star Trek franchise.
Both bridges will be usable in the standard mode for solo and cooperative play, as well as the Ongoing Voyages mode that will randomly generate missions using procedural algorithms so that there's practically infinite amounts of replayability for Star Trek: Bridge Crew.
Ubisoft has been rather rigorous in adopting their ecosystem to the VR landscape. Star Trek: Bridge Crew joins games like Eagle Flight and Werewolves Within that also take advantage of the virtual reality headsets.
Some publishers have shown a lot of reticence in terms of diving into VR due to the costs of production and research and development required to make use of the headsets in an effective way. Valve has tried making it slightly less painful by introducing SteamVR into the middleware ecosystem for developers to utilize freely. It helps them adapt their games to VR headsets, whether that's the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, or even the PlayStation VR. The tools are to help give developers more access and leeway into helping shape their game for the VR experience.
Unfortunately, the high price of headsets and the lack of any real killer apps, save for Resident Evil 7, has stifled the revenue for virtual reality. Analysts and forecasters had to repeatedly downgrade their estimates for the potential revenue intake and profit margins for both Oculus and HTC. Both headsets vastly underperformed compared to what the media and analysts had forecasted, but the PlayStation VR managed to move about on par to what was expected of it. The fact that it's several hundred dollars cheaper than its competitors have helped a lot. Even still, there's less than a million units out on the market and both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift combined still make up for a miniscule amount of the market. In fact, according to the Steam hardware survey, barely 0.37% of Steam's total userbase actually owns a VR headset.
So Ubisoft will have an uphill climb to make in terms of moving units of Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Diehard fans of the series might be first adopters, but getting casual fans to pick up a headset to play a Star Trek game might be a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, we'll get to see just how well the game performs on the market when it releases on May 30th.