2016 is going to be a big year for gaming – in this year alone we are likely to see Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive all fight it out as the main contenders of virtual reality headsets. One question that has been cropping up recently is, will virtual reality be successful? Will these headsets show that VR is here to stay and not be another gimmick? Well, let’s go through the main factors that could cause VR to either be a commercial success or to crash and burn.
First up we have the price of the headsets, and already VR doesn’t have a good start. At the moment, we only know the price of the Oculus Rift and that many people weren’t happy to hear the announcement of a $599.99 price tag for the headset. Customers of the Rift will also need a powerful PC to run the headset, which will drive up the cost for people who don’t have the latest hardware.
Though the price is high, the Oculus Rift is going to have the most powerful hardware compared to the other headsets so the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR should have a cheaper price tag compared to the Rift. Though there is no information on the price for the HTC Vive and the PlayStation, there is a rumour that PS VR will cost $300 when it is released. If this turns out to be true, then there will be a headset aimed at a good portion of the gaming market.
Next we have the VR experience itself – this will be the main selling point for VR headsets as they will offer a brand new experience for gamers to try out. Obviously this will be seen in first person games, like RIGS and EVE Valkyrie. Titles like this can show what to expect from virtual reality and the headsets, but first person games are just the start.
Most game genres would work well with VR, like third person games fro example. Since the player is blocked out from the world while using VR, this will can make any game played on a headset more intense and amplify the atmosphere of the game. Imagine playing The Last of Us on PlayStation VR, the tension of sneaking through clicker infested buildings would definitely be higher than that of a normal screen.
With these amazing experiences to offer, this will be the main driving force for games to pick up their own virtual reality headset. If game devs cannot deliver on the experience, then VR will go the way of motion controls, a gimmick that gamers didn’t want.
Lastly, we have the game library – as any gamer knows, a gaming system lives or dies on its game library on offer. A console could have some of the best hardware on the market but if no good games are being made for it, then there is no chance of the console to succeed. We have seen this happen in the past, especially in the portable gaming market.
At the moment, there are are few Triple A games announced for VR. There are RIGS and Eve Valkyrie as well as plenty of indie games coming out for VR headsets, but nothing that would be a system seller. Of course, it is hard to tell how the game library will turn out for the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive as none of the systems are out yet, but I think there are plenty of games being made for these headsets. There are already over 200 hundred games that will support the Oculus Rift when it comes out and Sony had announced that over 100 games are in development for the PlayStation VR right now. Will any of these games be a system seller for the headsets; only time will tell.
For now, all we can do is wait and see what happens. While the Oculus Rift price is a bit hight, the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR can still be cheaper when they are released giving consumers a cheaper option for VR headsets. As for the games, it will take some time for Triple A devs to jump on board and start making VR games. By the end of this year and start of next year, I think we will see more support from triple-A devs for the VR headsets. One thing we do know is that the current games that are already being developed for VR are delivering on the experience as there are plenty of people in gaming journalism who are enjoying the games they have played at events.
Personally, I think there is hope for virtual reality. Each one of the headsets has a big company backing it, with two of them having good ties with the gaming industry. At the moment, VR has the best set up it can get for becoming another platform in the gaming industry. I just hope this does not become another gimmick that will eventually fade away.
So what do you think? Will virtual reality have a future in gaming? Let us know in the comments below.