We are entering a huge new era of technology. Not just for video games, but for all of humanity. Whether you’re ready or not, virtual reality is now a reality. The Oculus Rift, the first in a line of premium virtual reality headsets, launched last week with its competitor HTC Vive releasing on Apr. 5. While the uses for VR extend far beyond gaming, there are even dedicated gaming virtual reality platforms like the PlayStation VR which comes out in October. This week we want to know:
Here are our thoughts!
I’ve used VR several times over the past couple years and I’ve seen how far it’s come. There are certainly limitations but I’ve played enough quality games that can only work in Virtual Reality to release me of most my skepticism. I won’t be an early adopter. If anything, I’m holding out for PlayStation VR which comes out in October.
However, I still have some reservations. VR is a very isolating experience. Engaging with it requires a complete disconnect from the real world. I have fears of burning away because I was lost in a game world and didn’t realize my home was on fire. That’s an extreme example, but headlines like those are just a not-so-distant future away.
Have you even READ Ready Player One?! No? Maybe you’ve heard of a movie called The Matrix. If you haven’t, then my answer is a big, fat nope. I’ve read and watched too many dystopian worlds spiral due to an improper use of Virtual Reality. I think it’s kitschy and can be fun, but I think it’s best saved for theme park rides. The only Virtual Reality I want is a holodeck (primarily so I can go to Hogwarts).
Side note: I tried some VR stuff at a game company a few years back that they were testing out. It completely threw off my equilibrium and made me dizzy. Wouldn’t recommend for anyone who gets motion sick.
I actually read a long time ago that men and women see differently, and thus VR has/had to be calibrated specifically for men and women. This journalist tried and it was like “Why would anyone do this to themselves” and because the dev team was largely dudes they never ran into that problem before. Maybe it was just her sensitivity to VR stuff but I assume they’ve worked out the kinks by now.
Anyway, I’m into it. I’m into seeing where this stuff goes. It is kind of a novelty right now, but I’ve seen videos of CRAZY things people can do with it. I see it as an entirely new medium, and while it’ll definitely initially be used for butts and boos I think it can go to great places.
I’m glad it’s here, but I’m still very skeptical. The actual games and implementation I’ve seen so far come off as entertaining experiences, but not necessarily fully fleshed out ones. This will surely improve over time, but that’s the one thing working against VR. If the technology can’t prove itself capable of full game experiences soon, people will likely move on before it has the chance to develop. And at the prices these things are demanding, I can’t really blame them.
I’m also still personally skeptical as to how well the tech will work for me. I essentially only see out of one eye, and even so, with glasses, that eye is pretty bad. VR may be something I can’t (or can’t fully) enjoy. As a result, there’s a selfish part of me that’s worried about VR doing too well and pushing me to the fringe of gaming.
I am, but I’m worried that it’ll take a while for people to take advantage of the technology in an “artistic” way. At this point it seems that the only “certain” advancements that will come from VR tech are in pornography and in horror games. Frankly, I’m not a fan of the jump-scare based horror video games that are popular right now, and I’m worried that the public will only gravitate toward those. I feel like VR would make it even easier to forgo creativity in horror video games than it already is, and that would be a shame in my opinion. I would love to see a game like MYST for VR, something that is visually and graphically oriented and allows the player to explore worlds — I think if they follow in that direction, we may see some really beautiful works of art done on VR platforms. Like with any new technology, there’s a lot of uncertainty of how it will be used, but I’m still excited to see if we can utilize the platform to its potential.
I love the idea and promise of VR, but for many reasons already listed, I need to make sure to keep my expectations in check. As much as I love games, as I’ve grown older, I always like my games more as communal experiences rather than strictly solo affairs, and VR as it currently is, is decidedly a solitary experience . I’m a little scared as well, because I know if someone like Nintendo ever creates a Pokemon VR game, or someone creates something like the aforementioned Ready Player One…God knows what’s going to happen to me haha. Right now its too expensive and not enough full fledged experiences to make it worth it, but that’s what you expect from an early launch of such potentially revolutionary tech. But that’s the key word for me: revolutionary. VR can change so much not just gaming, which is why I so want it to succeed. Doctors performing surgery and offering help and work in conflict zones from the comfort of their offices. Children learning about the atmosphere of Pluto, by figuratively “going to” Pluto. Sitting in the Roman Forum as Caesar addresses the Roman Senate. This is what the power of VR could be, and its what I hope it will be. And at the same time, if I could walk around Hyrule Field, that’s a major plus.
I’m really torn on my feelings considering VR. On the one hand, having spoken with Nolan Bushnell about it and having tried the Oculus Rift for myself, I can see how VR will be influential and important in the future of game development. On the other hand, however, there is the possibility that VR will be just another fad whose technological promise could outweigh its current capabilities. Having seen trends like music peripherals and motion controllers rise and fall, there is a chance that, like with the Virtual Boy, the Oculus Rift will be too sophomoric and fade into the annals of hardware. So as to my feelings, I remain cautiously optimistic, hoping not to get burned but expecting a flame nonetheless.
One thing is certain: none of us are really sure what virtual reality is, what it is supposed to be, and what it will become. Now we want to hear from you. Comment below and join the conversation.