Virtual reality has been the talk of the gaming community, especially since the announcement of the steep $600 price for the Oculus Rift. Last week, supposedly the price of the PlayStation VR leaked on three Swiss retailer websites claiming about a $435-$544 price range, which obviously isn’t much better than the $600 price point. So with all of the hype spreading around, here are some predictions for the future of virtual reality gaming.
It will be too expensive.This should be an obvious notion to predict about the virtual reality gaming industry. With the $600 price point of the Oculus Rift and a rumored price point not much lower from the PlayStation VR, it’s a given to worry that the extremely high prices are going to be too much for the average gamer. While working at GameStop, I saw gamers even struggling with dishing out the initial price of almost $500 for the Xbox One with the Kinect. So how are gamers supposed to afford an Oculus Rift for $600? The best part is, it’s not even a console, it’s an added device to allow for the capability for virtual reality, but it costs more than a console. So if you don’t have a PS4 yet, well, there’s another $300 to $400 to tack on to the price of the VR device. And you don’t even want to see how expensive of a gaming PC you need to even run the Oculus Rift.
Many games won’t need to be in VR.Virtual reality is an entertaining and unique option to consider when looking for a game to play, mostly because it’s almost as if you are put right into the middle of the game. Developers always strived to make the gameplay experience feel more real, from creating realistic graphics to a more engaging storyline. But sometimes not all games need to be VR-capable. For example, take the platformer, Lucky’s Tale, that supposed to be shipping free with the launch of Oculus Rift. That game, very much like 3D Super Mario Bros. games, is a prime example of a game that doesn’t need to be in VR. There’s nothing spectacular about watching from a third-person perspective as you control a character in a 3D world. I think the platformer would be fantastic by itself and without VR, which leads me to believe when you do have to purchase it for VR, it won’t sell well. Games, like Overkill’s The Walking Dead, might be more beneficial when looking for a VR game. But I feel like a lot of developers will try to push their luck with the VR just to jump onto the bandwagon.
Less hours spent playing games means less interest in games.Many who have reviewed VR headsets have already commented on the fact that it’s going to be hard playing games for a long period of time because of the dizzying effects of VR in high-action games. So if Fallout 4 ever releases on Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR, you can guarantee people will try to play Fallout 4 for a long time, but it will be nowhere near the 30+ hours players spend on it now. And if players can’t play games for as long as they want due to motion sickness, then their interest in the game, and possibly the device, decreases. And then the VR headset takes a seat next to the Kinect up on the top shelf in the back of the closet.
VR will be more popular outside of the home.Recently, Starbreeze Studios announced that they were bringing an arcade to Los Angeles that was going to be entirely stocked with VR games using their new VR headset, StarVR. But did you also know that virtual reality rides are also coming to theme parks in Los Angeles? According to the LA Times, Canada’s Wonderland amusement park will be just one of the many theme parks getting a VR addition to one of their coasters at the park this year, so that riders can choose to experience the ride in VR or in real life. The VR will be used to boost riders on rides that are otherwise not as flashy and popular. So with this thought in mind, you can spend $600 on an Oculus Rift or try out VR for yourself at a theme park or arcade for much cheaper.
VR is not here to stay.While virtual reality gaming is in high gear right now and everyone is trying to take advantage of the trend, that’s all it’s really going to be: a trend. Consumers will spend hundreds of dollars pre-ordering the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, only to find that by the time the prices come down to being affordable, the trend would’ve moved on to something else. The only reason I could ever see me buying an Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR is for horror games. In environment-heavy horror games, virtual reality is probably one of the best ways to experience a horror game. I had my first experience using a DIY cardboard Google VR headset and playing a VR horror game on my phone—and it was so worth it and not jerky enough to give me motion sickness. But other than that, I think VR headsets will be short-lived until the next amazing gaming creation comes along. Then again, I could be totally wrong.