Just how popular is VR?
It has been predicted by CCS Insight that in 2018 24 million virtual reality headsets will be sold, culminating in what TechViz predicts to be a global usage of 171 million people by that time. The financial side of the VR gaming industry is a crucial contributing factor to these figures, as the relatively high price of acquiring a VR headset along with the technology to run the programmes, means that currently only those who can afford the technology have access to it; however, the high cost of producing and running the technology also results in a high return since VR is highly in demand, with the revenue forecast for VR in 2020 at $120 billion.
Why is VR so popular?
It is VR’s interactiveness that is one of the aspects people enjoy most. The demand to feel as if you are “there” in the situation being viewed is one that is increasingly seen across all gaming sectors, from board games to live casino games. Take iGaming, for instance. By making their bingo games (such as Golden Galaxy, Planet Pattern and Need for Speed) able to run on mobile devices, bgo bingo suits the market requirement of interactivity wherever you are, with clear audio and themed graphics. That also goes for their live casino offerings, which provide players with live streaming gaming experiences, and are expected to soon enter the world of VR themselves.
VR technology has taken into account what the user expects from it: an intense, immersive experience created by drawing heavily upon the senses of sight and sound, with impressive scenery and audio. In discussing the Resident Evil 7 VR game, Kawata revealed that worries that “the fear might be too intense in VR” was actually what they were “hoping to achieve”, in order to create a realistic experience.
Other VR games that are highly different from one another, yet reveal what it is about VR games that consumers love, are Edge of Nowhere and Audioshield. The third-person horror game Edge of Nowhere employs the Oculus Rift headset to take you on a journey following 1920s explorer Victor Howard in his search for missing crew members in the Antarctic. Edge of Nowhere‘s strong point is its virtual Antartic scenery, which uses an incredible sense of scale to awe to the player.
Meanwhile, the rhythm game Audioshield, which uses the same algorithm as Audiosurf, converts your music preferences into virtual beats that attack you. Your only defence? Shields in blue and orange, the movement of which is governed by your Vive controllers. Therefore, the selling point of this VR game is the interactivity with audio, as it is converted into visual manifestations.
— vrgamecritic (@vrgamecritic) February 21, 2017
What effect is VR having on the attitude of other sectors of the gaming industry?
VR is making developers rethink how their games are constructed and portrayed, in light of how they would translate into VR. Oliver Lewis of Improbable believes that “A lot of game depictions of war are not accurate emotionally, are not accurate operationally, even if they’re accurate visually. And as we get towards ever more immersive experiences we have a responsibility to represent that moral reasoning.” Furthermore, emphasis on storytelling is also being given.
Interestingly, VR impacts the ratings of games even if you are not playing the VR version, as when games are sold the software for the VR version is usually part of them already, just not unlocked. This was the case with PlayStation’s Super Stardust Ultra (released 2015), which had its rating altered in 2016 from E to E10+, due first-person VR setting being more emotionally intense in battle. VR online slot gaming is already underway from BestVirtualRealityCasino.com, in which you are able to feel as if you are in the casino from the comfort of your home. Other forms of iGaming like bgo bingo or scratchcards on SpinzWin do not appear to have forayed into VR yet, but the future is likely to prove otherwise.
What does the future look like for VR and the gaming industry?
While gaming companies are making investments in VR technology, the process is still slow. An issue is that with each new development in hardware for gaming, the VR gaming technology being developed also has to be altered in accordance. However, it is certain that more VR developments will be seen in the future, impacting the way that all forms of gaming are created.