Virtual Reality has been a long time coming. People have been waiting for its existence since depicted in films decades ago, showing a futuristic world where most of what we experience is in a virtual world, especially games. But how does the gaming community feel about Virtual Reality and its future in video games? I took a poll of a small group of people that would be considered “gamers.” For the purpose of this poll I’ll define “gamers” as simply meaning a group of players that play more than one game, that are interested in games of the past and the future, who also have strong opinions and outlooks on video games. In other words, video games are big part of their lives.
Here is the question I asked and right under that are the options they were given. Take this survey with a grain of salt, it is a small test group of a little over a hundred, that’s not nearly enough to speak for the giant population of gamers. It is however a nice little insight into the gaming communities thoughts on the matter. For you as a gamer, what does VR and it’s future in gaming mean to you?
I like the idea of it, but it’s not great, the technology just isn’t there yet, but I think it will improve in the future (51 Votes)
I see it as more of an experience and not exactly gaming (22 Votes)
It’s a gimmick, like 3D that will eventually die out, at least in the gaming world (18 Votes)
Other (if they picked other I then had them comment below and tell me in their own words their answer to the question) (11 Votes)
I believe that in the future it will change the way we play games completely and be the normal way to play (8 Votes)
I love VR and I think the future for it is bright (6 Votes)
I can’t stand it and it has no place in gaming (1 Vote)
“I like the idea of it, but it’s not great, the technology just isn’t there yet, but I think it will improve in the future.” The first answer essentially shows a cautiously optimistic reaction to gaming in VR going forward, while also expressing a lack of interest at this time. The next two answers don’t exactly show a positive reaction to VR in a gaming aspect either, both lean away from VR, with the third answer basically leaving the technology for dead. The top three answers combined make up a little over 75% of the voters, that’s not a whole lot of support from gamers in regards to VR in the now, but is that how gamers really feel? Well let’s look at some numbers. According to a report by Super Data, they estimate that 6.3 million VR headsets were shipped in 2016. An industry report by Spil games, estimates there are 1.2 billion people playing games. Lets just assume that all of those VR headsets went to already established gaming households, even if that were the case, then we would still be left with just a tiny fraction of gamers in the world.
Could it be that VR is simply built as more of an experience than a game? With technology like VR that will always be a huge aspect of the technology, because let’s face it, it’s not just a gaming platform and the experience should always play a factor. VR’s non-gaming features can lead to real change and we should always want better for people. I think about people who have certain medical conditions that can rarely leave their homes, or aren’t physically able to travel come to mind. People like that still deserve to see the world and wouldn’t that be wonderful if they could experience anything, anywhere, despite whatever condition they are dealing with? In terms of gaming however, there has been little that’s come out that has been a fully fleshed out video gaming experience, minus a couple titles here or there. Alex Slade voted other and then put his feelings on the matter that part of the gaming community might agree with, “I love VR but I’m not sure the future is bright for it. It’s an amazing gaming experience, but I think developers need to dedicate to it. Resident Evil 7 is a great example, and we need more lengthy games like that one.” In the end that’s the real truth. Why would developers spend extra time and money on a VR version of their game, or better yet on a game that is purely VR? Profit wise they will see much better sales and returns in their investment if they put out a game on consoles and PC, these are tested and reliable markets where real profit can be made. Alex is right, until developers really start to jump on board, VR will struggle with true gamers.
Who Let Him Outside?!
The other section created some other interesting feedback in the comments section and sheds light into the mind of gamers regarding VR. Self described video game fanatic Kc Ford wrote, “I think it’s a gimmick like 3d but only for gaming wise. For design wise it can change a lot, especially like the Hololens, that changes designing massively.” This is an astute observation, although she isn’t impressed by it in video games, she sees its potential in other avenues, which could lead to a whole world of untapped options in designing and other things that may one day be hindered by nothing except the imagination. Richard Kelly was a bit more impressed by it gaming wise in his comment, “ I think it’s an interesting concept and something that will probably become a big part of gaming in the future, but I legit have zero interest in it.” Plenty of gamers seem to feel that way, even if they like it or are impressed by it, they aren’t necessarily willing to shell out the cash for what is not a cheap investment by any means. On top of that, everyone in this generation, actually everyone everywhere up until this point, grew up on a controller or a mouse in their hand. It’s pretty common we stick with something we grew up doing for years and years, VR has an uphill battle with a hefty price tag combined with battling nostalgia and habits of using normal controllers.
Some of the other comments alerted me to something I had heard about from other people, getting sick from playing VR. With regular video games it’s a rare occurrence, even people who do long marathons of play rarely get sick from gaming itself. VR on the other hand, induced some comments like this one from gamer Melissa Louise, “I get motion sick too easily to want anything to do with it, but I do think it could eventually be better than it is now.” That’s bad, but apparently it can be worse, Christophe Nicolopoulos wrote, “I think it has a lot of possibilities and would have loved to play certain games in VR, but I had to sell my PSVR because I couldn’t play without getting motion sick within minutes, so personally I don’t know what to think of it anymore.” Motion sickness is a real problem with VR and the technology is already battling plenty of other obstacles. The last thing it needs is to fight potential sickness from those interested and especially those completely sold on it.
VR is here, the future is now, apparently. However it seems the future still has a long ways to go. VR seems to sit pretty well with plenty of people who don’t play video games normally, however the industry wants the gaming community, as they make a very large population in the world today. To make VR a normal thing in households for gamers, they will have to make it a more quality gaming experience, eliminate or at least reduce the sickness it can induce, make it more affordable or enticing enough to fork over the cash and make sure it doesn’t end up being an old gimmick like 3D. VR has already had some success, but make no mistake the industry wants more, a lot more. Now that the technology is out there, it will only improve from here and it will start targeting gamers more and more, because who doesn’t want big profits?
If you’re a gamer, what would it take for you to venture over to the VR side of gaming? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!
I am a freelance writer whose passion for writing, especially about video games knows no bounds! I am also a gigantic fan of all things Star Wars, I play soccer and I travel every chance I get. I am actively looking to add new clients and possible guest posts, please contact me if you are at all interested in working together. I also am one-third of a podcast called Third Player Games, it's a hilariously good time that also provides lesser known news and information about indie/smaller games, check it out! Have a great day everyone!