Virtual Reality Gaming: Trend Or Gimmick?

Virtual reality gaming could take off, but is it too late to be taken seriously?

The concept of virtual reality gaming has been around since the 1980s, if not longer. The problem with this is that it is also associated with the fact that it used to be a hokey gimmick from the 1980s/90s, instead of something that can be truly developed into an immersive experience.

At the latest conventions and conferences, we’ve seen developments that indicate virtual reality gaming, or augmented gaming, is going to move into a very real market space. But is there a market for this product? Or are people going to toss it to the side like motion gaming? Let’s talk about what we know so far.


Who Go Virtual?

This is a really good question. Why do we even need to go virtual at all? Isn’t just sitting on my couch/PC gaming chair enough for gaming? While sitting on one’s couch is all well and good, imagine if you could actually experience the world you were gaming in as you we gaming in it. This is a huge selling point to virtual reality gaming, and why people are still supporting endeavors to make it work.

Virtual reality gaming is all about total immersion. The closer these guys get to being able to completely immerse a person in a world, the more people will adopt the technology. Many of these developers are also making their code open-source, so that many of the virtual reality peripherals interact with each other.


Virtual Reality Gaming: Trend Or Gimmick?
Things have seriously changed since the Virtual Boy.


Total immersion is something people are willing to pay for, especially for out-of-this world experiences. I know I would pay quite a bit of money to be able to run around in Hyrule, or Kanto, or any number of awesome worlds you could explore. It’s also so much more than just running around. Haptic technology has advanced quite a bit, which means you can feel the blows of combat, electricity, heat, and other environmental effects.

But, it comes with a cost, and boy, is it a big one for the complete experience.


The Cold Reality of Virtual Reality Gaming

The biggest gripe consumers have about these virtual reality devices is the cost. These things are super expensive, and we’re not disagreeing! The Virtuix Omni, a harness that allows you to run around in virtual reality games, starts at $699.99 USD. And that’s not including the Oculus Rift, or a PC to run the games for it. There are also haptic products on the market, including gloves and a chest piece.

Now you’re starting to hear those cha-ching noises. And yes, most of the gear works with the other gear, so, yeah, you’re gonna want to get a full set. This really is the major issue with the virtual realisty gaming industry; it’s just too expensive for the common person. Most of us don’t even want to pay the $500 bucks for a new console, and you want me to shell out even more for half of the product?


Virtual Reality Gaming: Trend Or Gimmick?


The other issue is that, well, not everyone can use these devices. There are absolutely going to be people who do not want to run around in a virtual world, or people who cannot operate the virtual reality gaming controls. The gaming industry prides itself on being accessible to everyone, so this will cause some issues with game development for the virtual reality gaming products.


It’s The Funnest Of Gimmicks

I, personally, think that virtual reality gaming will never take off as a household thing. It’s just too expensive, and bulky, for people to justify the cost. However, I do see this being a thing we get to experience in arcades and theme parks. I believe that these virtual reality rigs will absolutely be a wise investment for arcade and theme park owners because they present a unique experience.

With the rate of development, I see single player games first, and if the trend takes off, we could see development of multiplayer games you can play in virtual reality. Imagine being able to slay a dragon with your teammates in virtual reality, or play actual war games against an opposing team. It’s this generation’s laser tag!


Virtual Reality Gaming: Trend Or Gimmick?
It’s already taking off in some countries.


And I think that an arcade that focuses on this could make a killing, because one person simply cannot afford all the gear. But you know what one person can do? Pay $25 for an hour of first person slaying zombies. I’d totally pay it.

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So, while I don’t think it’s totally the newest trend, I think it has the potential to be successful on a larger scale. Theme parks should look into syncing these bad boys up and creating an entirely different sort of ride. I know lots of gamers would pay for the ability to access the rig, if they can’t buy one outright.

Thanks for reading gamers, and we’ll be back next week!