Will Virtual Reality Gaming Be the Next Big Thing, Or Just a Novelty?

    With each emerging piece of gaming tech there are always a slew of individuals (as well as press organizations) claiming that their new gadget will “revolutionize the gaming world”.  Regardless of how much hyperbole we encounter, the truth remains that there are often timely releases of intriguing new technological bits that DO drastically influence the course of development in various fields.  The world of video gaming is of course no exception to this, which is clearly evidenced each time a new generation of consoles goes online.

    But with the dawn of Virtual Reality gaming on the horizon, many feel that something truly extraordinary is about to happen which will utterly transform the way we play, forever altering the very fabric of game development itself.  On the other hand, we’ve seen many other promising ideas fall by the wayside, like 3D TV viewing systems and gaming, for example.  The real question is – will the emergence of consumer VR become a landmark event or will it just flail and fall by the wayside?

    The Oculus Rift

    First off we need to take a look at the tech that’s currently out there and in development.  Organizations like Oculus VR, Sony and even Valve are going out of their way to promote their ongoing efforts to bring a truly versatile and amazing virtual reality experience to people.  Just looking at the various demo events we’ve seen emerge in recent times it’s clear that (at the very least), the tech works, and quite well.  Everyone that’s visited any of the three companies’ presentations has left with their mouth agape, unable to remain calm about just how incredibly “cool” and “amazing” these impending VR headsets actually are.  Can you blame them?

    The thought of actually being able to virtually walk around inside of a large open-world game in HD or better, actually using your own head to control the pitch and yaw of what you see onscreen is well…a gamer’s wet dream, to put it bluntly.  One can readily imagine how incredible it would be to explore vast worlds filled with limitless quests or thrust yourself into some intense survival horror environment.  Clearly the various factors required to make all of this come to fruition are lining up and the wheels of innovation are definitely turning.

    In order for everything to truly “click” however, it’s going to take more than just various hardware development teams to concentrate on this new movement.  Namely, it is the game developers who will ultimately decide whether or not Virtual Reality gaming has any true staying power.  Even if there were a number of amazing future titles headed our way featuring VR support, without a few really great mega-hits it’s very possible that the entire movement might quickly burn out.  We’re talking about a paradigm shift here, of sorts, the kind of change that requires momentum to drive and maintain it, in terms of social considerations, marketing as well as the financials.  Simply put, if some of the major investors behind these projects don’t see great returns within set time limit, the technology might be relegated to the dust bin.   Of course there’s no current indication that VR gaming will be anything less than a glowing success, but only time will tell…

    Sony’s VR headset

    Looking at what devs are talking about, its clear that there’s great excitement in the air with regards to the creative possibilities that might be unleashed by this new trend.  Many are even claiming that it will generate a shift so big that it will forever alter the video game landscape forever – that’s right, a complete change in the way people play and think about games.  In their minds, we might see legions of new gamers turning completely away from large view screens altogether in favor of these VR headsets.   Regardless, it’s almost a certainty that we’re going to see (at the very least) a few stunningly amazing VR-compatible titles hitting store shelves in the near future, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.

    Again, it’s going to be entirely up to the public at large to “decide” whether or not VR gaming with become “the next big thing” or just another novelty, but it’s safe to say that it is (at the very least) going to have a significant impact.  The incredibly impressive immersive nature of the technology itself is so attractive that it basically sells itself.  Let’s just hope that this doesn’t turn into another missed opportunity for the industry at large. Can’t wait for Virtual Reality gaming? Why not get yourself a Oculus Rift Developers Kit and start playing now?


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