How, why, and when VR will fail

How, why, and when VR will fail

Editor's note: this post was original published during Oculus Rift's launch week back in March 2016. We're reposting it one year on to see how the predictions hold up. What do you think?

Great. The first Oculus Rift consumer model pre-orders arrived at the doorsteps of their excited and devoted recipients on 28th March, and the very next day here's some internet schmo with a hot take on why those people are all wrong and wasted their money. Where do I get off, right?

Here's the thing, though: I get it. I used to be excited about VR, too. I've sought out strange and inventive new experiences from across the internet to test out on my Oculus Rift DK2. I've tinkered with third-party software and .ini files to patch in quasi-support for old games, in the name of curiosity. I climbed Everest, toured virtual real estate and broke Aperture Science property thanks to the Vive. I swam with sharks and hacked apart suits of armour with PlayStation VR. I used to be all about virtual reality.

Until I spent a lot of time with it. 

After a while, I started wondering why all the VR coverage I was reading - and crikey there's been a lot of VR coverage in the last year, hasn't there? - was so unilaterally positive. Why none of it seemed to chime with my own experiences of it.

Not having a word of it? Fine, check out the best VR games on PC instead. See if I care.

Yes, it feels great the first time you put on the headset and realise that the virtual space encompasses you. It's exciting and immersive. But what about the motion sickness, the discomfort, the constant tech issues, the sense of its novelty wearing off, the sky-high investment cost, the problem with traditional WASD controls becoming suddenly disorienting, and how counter-intuitive it is after years of gaming on a screen to have to physically turn 180 degrees to look behind you? Some of those issues are a by-product of pre-consumer hardware. Many of them aren't.

The probable reality is that VR coverage has been so overwhelmingly positive because there's potential in it to become a burgeoning new sub-sector, with a lot of money to be made. Facebook, HTC, Valve, Samsung and others all have deeply vested interests in the platform's success, and their combined PR muscle has impact on a truly global scale. Media outlets see an opportunity to be 'the place for VR.' Independent game developers and small studios see an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and make a name for themselves. Over the past year, those three forces have combined to create a surge of positive publicity for VR.

And that's fine, but it's time the dissenting voices also made themselves heard. So here's an internet schmo with a hot take on how, why, and when VR will fail.

It doesn't mean much to say "VR will fail" and leave it at that. By what metric? Well, what that statement means to me refers explicitly to gaming. I'll break it down like this:

How - the user base won't be big enough to entice major developers

Lucky's Tale

Sales of Oculus Rift and Vive headsets over the next 36 months won't be sufficient to entice enough game developers and publishers to support them with software. Without system-selling titles, the platform will suffer continued poor headset sales until it's no longer financially viable for their platform holders to continue supporting them.

Anyone with a stake in OnLive, Ouya, 3D, or uDraw will read that tale of decline with bitter recognition. As will anyone with a stake in VR the last time manufacturers tried to convince us it was the next big thing, in the optimistic early '90s.

You read about Vive selling 150,000 units in ten minutes as soon as pre-orders went live. You read about Oculus's site almost going down under the weight of traffic when Rift pre-orders went live. What you haven't read since then are the subsequent unit sales for each device.

Facebook CFO Dave Wehner has stated that the Oculus Rift's revenues "won't be material" to the company's 2016 financials. When you consider the amount of money passing through Facebook's accounts, that doesn't sound like a big deal. But did you hear anyone from Microsoft or Sony talking about their upcoming consoles prior to Xbox One and PS4's launch in the manner of Wehner's following quote?

"With Rift, it’s really… you know it’s early in the evolution of VR. It’s early to be talking about large volume, so at this point I don’t think we’re giving a lot of color around supply chain and that sort of thing. It’s not going to be material to our financials this year."

As RoadToVR point out, Facebook's 2015 revenues were $17.93 billion. It's speculative, but reasonable, to say that $1 billion might constitute 'material.' At the Rift's current $599 price tag, that equates to 1.67 million units. It's worth noting at this point that Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. 

Oculus Rift final

Some context for those numbers: Samsung sold "just under" 1.6 million 3D TVs in their first year. More pertinently, the Wii U's first year sales were 4.3 million units. That was sufficiently low for major publishers Ubisoft and EA to announce that they'd be pulling back their support of the console. 

There's a lot of guesswork involved in making comparisons using those figures. Is developing for VR more costly than developing for Wii U? I'd guess so. Is $1 billion the point at which Oculus sales become "material" to Facebook's revenues? I guess. These figures are also specific to Oculus. Will Vive sell better? I'd be guessing.

But what those figures tell us, inarguably, is this: VR is not too big to fail. Nintendo found a way to keep the Wii U alive with excellent first-party software - Valve have that option, but do they have the inclination to follow suit? If they did, you'd imagine the Vive's launch lineup would reflect that. And I mean a game, not a tech demo. The tech industry invested billions into 3D, and watched as consumers stubbornly refused to change their lifelong viewing habits. Which, as Rock Paper Shotgun point out in this fantastic piece, is just as pertinent a point in gaming. 

The difference, you feel, between previous failed technologies and this wave of VR is that there's such a sense of hope. Such a collective desire for VR to deliver on our fantasies. And its manufacturers are absolutely playing to that...

Why - the user experience doesn't justify the outlay, and you don't know that until you buy one

HTC Vive

How much imagery like the above have you seen in the last year or so? People in stylish lofts and roomy living rooms, absolutely lost in their VR experience? I've seen a lot of it. And I'm not surprised - it's absolutely crucial for VR that potential users believe it's the experience they imagine in their head. 

It isn't. It's somewhere between your expectations and a disappointment. Not an outright disappointment, just - somewhere in the middle. I'm not talking about one headset in particular. I've spent hours with the various models of Oculus Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR, and while there are differences in comfort, image quality and tracking precision between each one, they're united in being not quite as good as you'd hope. 

You can see the pixels. People don't tend to mention it, because it feels so amazing at first to move your head around and stare at a virtual world that presents itself from all angles. But that novelty does wear away, and when it does you start to notice things like the grid-like appearance caused by the visible pixels inches from your eyes.

oculustouch.jpg

It also might make you sick. This issue's definitely been minimised as each manufacturer's headsets have been redesigned, but it hasn't been eliminated because at least part of the responsibility lies with the game developer. Valve, Oculus, and Sony can do absolutely everything on their end to minimise motion sickness, but if a developer releases a game that you control in first-person using WASD and its frame rate is variable, you'll feel sick. 

Which, in turn, means certain established genres just don't seem to work in VR, not currently. First-person shooters are largely out. Third-person games need a very bespoke approach. Sports games, such as FIFA or NBA 2K, remain untested. The experiences that seem to thrive on VR headsets are those with a fixed point camera perspective, and it's going to take time for developers to figure out how to use that to their advantage. 

The thing about all the disconcerting peculiarities of VR is that you don't know about them until you've tried it. Now - where, and how, are you going to try it before you buy a headset for $600-$800? I know colleagues in the games industry who have yet to strap on a headset, and that makes me wonder how the millions of consumers whom VR's manufacturers are hoping to get on board are going to make an informed decision before buying in.

The reality of the prospect most consumers face, then, sounds like this: spend $600-$800 on a piece of technology you haven't tried, on the basis that it matches your imagined experience of that product. Then spend more money on a PC that'll run it smoothly, and for the best experience, set it all up in a large, empty room which you'll need to devote to VR gaming alone. Do this, and you can access bespoke titles such as Lucky's Tale, TiltBrush, Adr1ft, Project CARS and Defense Grid 2. 

Launch titles aren't always indicative of a platform's fortunes, but with respect to all those titles, none of them scream "$2000 investment". The major players - Ubisoft, Activision, EA, Bethesda et al - whose IPS can make or break a platform, have taken a step back from VR to see how the headsets sell before plunging money into development. Which means the headsets won't sell. 

When - a gradual three-year decline

CCP VR Labs

It won't happen overnight. It won't even be dead and buried within a year, because it takes longer than that for the momentum generated by the PR people of some of the world's biggest companies to decelerate. But slowly, over 36 agonising months filled with perma-grin press releases about new platform partners, price cuts, and reports about its hardware being used in places like car showrooms and real estate offices, VR sales will stall. 

Based on pre-order sales figures alone, the user base will be large enough to attract developers for the initial twelve months. It won't capitulate like Ouya. But its ambitions were infinitely farther-reaching than Ouya in the first place.

First year sales won't, however, be strong enough to entice involvement from major publishers and developers, and so twelve months in the early adopters will still have a diet of tech demos and short-form arcade games with which to use their $1500+ hardware investments. The public feeling towards a technology that promised us the world will begin to sour.

Companies faced with poor performance in the games sector will look elsewhere, to corporate applications, to recover costs. Games will no longer be the focus. Eventually, when enough time has passed that those companies can cease support and development without facing major embarrassment, they'll do so.

The exception will be Sony, whose PlayStation VR will outsell Oculus and Vive significantly, and will benefit from titles developed by the company's international array of first-party studios. Outside PlayStation 4, VR lives on only in the bedrooms of the rich enthusiasts.

And a few years, perhaps a decade or two, after that, the cycle will repeat. As this BBC retrospective points out, this isn't VR's first time around the block, nor will it be the last. There'll always be an audience for 'virtual reality,' because it's a suitably abstract concept that we can all interpret it to suit our imaginations. Perhaps it's a victim of its own nomenclature - a term less evocative and more decriptive might help to manage user expectations. Next time.   

Exactly how wrong am I about VR? Where should I shove this article, and how forcibly? Let me know in the comments below.

War Thunder
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Belimawr avatarChris Evans avatarJamesBinns avatarFattox avataram0eba avatardiblob avatar+31
Chris Evans Avatar
134
1 Year ago

I'm glad I'm not the only dinosaur out there! (http://thereticule.com/editors-blog-im-a-dinosaur/ - cheap plug!)

I think PSVR has a chance, mainly because the entry price is that much lower, and I think Sony will try (or at least, pretend to), support it properly. But even with PSVR, I think it will turn into something like Kinect. And Sony doens't have a great track record with this, look at the Camera/Move or even Wonderbook.

At the end of the day, as has been mentioned in other places (though not nearly enough to combat the overwhelmingly positive buzz there is around VR), people often will just want to sit down and play games, without faffing around with sensors, headsets and having to clear a 3sqm area to play in.

5
Fattox Avatar
458
1 Year ago

The last point sums it up for me mostly. I think i would always look at VR as a peripheral, like my HOTAS setup is. Something i might play with now and then when i want a more immersive experience, but when i can't be bothered configuring it all, i'll just use my 360 pad or mouse/kb. I can't imagine it ever replacing my monitor as a main display, not unless we're talking hololens type stuff (give it another decade).

If they get the cost down and improve the display further, i think it could be huge with more than just the diehards. But that depends whether those diehards and investors want to prop up the R&D until it gets to that point. I don't think it's going to die off like Phil seems to think, though.

VR is currently just expensive, a hassle to set up, and hasn't many big AAA titles to use it on, yet... those things can change with time. 3DTVs are and always were shit. Big difference when (over)using that comparison.

1
Mr. Snazzypants Avatar
9
1 Year ago

So you've never tried VR but you have this much of an opinion? That's a sadly typical sentiment....

-7
Fattox Avatar
458
1 Year ago

Where did you get that assumption from? I've used a DK1, owned a DK2 until a couple of months ago (sold it while 'twas still worth something) and have a Rift on pre-order for June. I almost went for a Vive too, as i find lighthouse and the controllers more appealing, but i have a feeling they won't be out of stock like the Rift (so maybe i'll eBay the Rift and buy a Vive!).

My point was that there's some hurdles in getting **most people** to hop on the VR wagon. Cost, hassle, titles on offer, etc. I never said i was one of those people, but the fact is that the industry will only be propped up for so long by people like me, who enjoy expensive toys.

1
Darksx Avatar
103
6 Months ago

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that VR is nothing more then a gimmick, just like the lame assed 3D in theaters. Everyone goes runniing to it like a bunch of flies to a bug catcher and gets all caught up in it until they finally come to realize just how lame the tech really is. Me, until they have Hollo decks like in Star Trek, they can keep their lame VR.

1
tetris42 Avatar
43
1 Year ago

So much negativity. I think it really depends on your definition of "fail." I don't think VR is likely to supplant normal screens the way some are predicting, but at the same time, I think it's going to create a permanent presence in the game industry. We may not see so many games designed for VR, but we may see many with options to run in VR also. VR is going to have a stronger presence than stereoscopic gaming ever had, for that I'm happy.

It's possible VR will wane, but if it does, it will be among a very dedicated niche. Think about how many people have SLI or a steering wheel / flight stick when they game. Those haven't gone away and still have a sizeable market that supports them, even if the majority don't use them. The experience is just so drastically different than anything else in gaming (or any medium) for it to be a simple fad. Anyone who looks at it that way is making a mistake.

5
Phil Iwaniuk Avatar
69
1 Year ago

I think you're absolutely right that VR will maintain a presence for longer than stereoscopic 3D. It's inherently a more exciting prospect, and a more enjoyable experience.

I'm not sure a user base equivalent to that which currently has an SLI setup or a high-end steering wheel/flight stick is big enough to sustain the platform. VR took billions of dollars of funding from big investors to get off the ground, and for support, production and development to continue, the user base needs to be large enough to make back that investment money. It seems destined for a niche, but has been developed using a business model intended for mass market, and that's where I see it falling down.

2
tetris42 Avatar
43
1 Year ago

That's what I mean when it comes back to definition of "fail." The same way you can be expected to use a steering wheel on any modern racing game, if I can play modern games in VR as an option 10 years from now, then to me, it's a success. The biggest draw of VR is the 3D immersion feeling. The controllers and room tracking stuff are just extras that I think have much more limited market.

On the other hand, it's likely some companies will falter along the way also. Similar to how many 3D card makers are no longer around, I expect a similar culling with VR. But for there to be no company left standing selling VR solutions with no games to run on them, I guess I just don't see that happening, there will be too strong a cult following behind it. You're making it sound like even one company won't survive selling VR in the future. There's a world of difference between that v. VR in every home, which I agree, has a lot of obstacles against it.

On another note, what the hell happened to Nvidia's "Auto Stereo" feature? They mentioned it in 2014, then have been completely silent since. It would bring over a LOT of existing games into VR (for better or worse).

1
diblob Avatar
20
1 Year ago

I could whine on about how negative this article is, but I won't.... because I pretty much agree with it! It's a gimmick that simply will not last. Think of all the accidents that Wii remotes and Kinect caused by people flailing about like idiots in front of their TVs, now imagine what would happen with a blindfold on as well :)

3
rockytoad Avatar
3
1 Year ago

I believe the more effective argument is will VR succeed as a major gaming platform? No developer has created that "Doom" , "quake", or Halo game. It may come, but it hasn't arrived yet.

What separates VR from the other failed technologies is that VR is a new platform that's constantly evolving. We are only at the Atari Pong stage of VR. I'm sure Oculus has software and tech that they can't show right now even with the release of the rift. VR doesn't have to be successful in only gaming to succeed. It can disrupt over technologies such as entertainment, healthcare, education ..etc

Tech always evolves and software and hardware issues will be solved. VR will become cheaper and faster smaller. (Samsung Gear VR innovator edition was $200 upon release.)

3
`ballistic_z=o Avatar
25
6 Months ago

with the exception of Eve Valkyrie by CCp no one else yet has. that's about to change soon with fall out 4 and few others .

the issue with VR has always been price and now it's the fact are there games worth playing on it and most of the other studio's are Too scared to put in full games and in turn that's turning off the initial part with audiences make it more affordable and put full on game as you would a normal system of platform and it'll all change.

Til they do this people will continue to write off VR as gimmick

1
HappyHimitsu Avatar
6
1 Year ago

"Yes, it feels great the first time you put on the headset and realise that the virtual space encompasses you. It's exciting and immersive. "

I've had a Rift DevKit in my home (both DK1, then 2) for the better part of 4 years now, and it is still nearly just as exciting and immersive as it was the first few days I used it.

"But what about the motion sickness, the discomfort"

Motion sickness is greatly alleviated to the point where it mostly a non-issue now, as advancements in how various forms of locomotion and reference (teleportation, comfort sphere, cockpits, etc.) affect the user, as well as utilizing things like asynchronous time warp and greatly decreasing latency, have gone a great deal in helping to ameliorate any negative effects.

Also, the CV1 and the Vive are touted by most as being very comfortable indeed. Even for long hours of use.

"the constant tech issues"

Not sure exactly what you are talking about here, but I haven't had much trouble getting things working since the DK1 days, and now that CV1 and Home has released, it is all a pretty streamlined (and very easy to figure out) system.

"the sense of its novelty wearing off"

The novelty hasn't worn off for me (after using it nearly 4 years) and the majority of those I speak to feel the same. VR is just as immersive, even more so, than it was when the first DK launched.

"the sky-high investment cost"

The Rift today (and the Vive) is significantly less than the equivalent price of the first VCR or CD Player, and comparatively priced to the first iPhone.

Still though, for those who *feel* the investment cost is too high, recognize that CV1 and Vive are for early-adopters and if you are not an early adopter, like other first generation tech, give it a year or two and the price will soon go down.

"the problem with traditional WASD controls becoming suddenly disorienting"

Not sure why you even mentioned something like WASD controls, when all of the major VR platforms thus far will be targeting touch controls (even if we have to wait a bit for Oculus to deliver theirs and use a nice gamepad for now).

"and how counter-intuitive it is after years of gaming on a screen to have to physically turn 180 degrees to look behind you?"

Lots and lots of VR experiences out there that don't require you to turn all the way around. In fact I would say most at this point.

Also, it isn't really counter-intuitive considering we turn around in real life all the freaking time, and Virtual REALITY is all about emulating real life experiences (which it does amazingly well now).

Seriously, where do you get this stuff?

3
tekknik Avatar
3
4 Weeks ago

So tell me, why should I (or any other consumer) go buy one today? the pattern i see is a gamer i know buys one, rants about how awesome it is for a week, then never talks about it again. when asked about it they all say something along the lines of it being great but to difficult to manage for a daily driver. then what about group settings? do you know how many people play games sitting on a couch together? that's now prohibitively expensive. what about streaming? that's becoming a huge industry and streaming VR is meh at best. there's a lot of problems with the now old VR tech (it's existed since before the 90s, let's not forget this very important market fact) and they will not be solved in this iteration. as much as we all want to move into a 3d world we created and have total control over, it won't happen on any mass scale for 10-20 more years.

2
morderkaine Avatar
2
1 Month ago

This, all of this

I have had the VIVE for a year and I can still be blown away by new experiences (latest was TheWaveVR).

It has made games on the monitor obsolete.

1
James Binns Avatar
38
1 Year ago

Nice piece Phil. But I remain a belieVR (see what I did there). This wave of fiddly, hobbyist devices with their clumsy setups and high concept showcases are still a warm up act.

You're right that media coverage has concentrated on origin myths... 'my first time with VR' rather than my 50th. And yes, the media has tried to force the story to follow the money.

Try this analogy. The first smart phone came out in 1993. I worked my way through Psions, Palms and Blackberries. Buy it wasn't until 2007 when the iPhone came along, that there was finally a phone that other people wanted to touch. When the paradigm of how people looked at phone screens and used them, changed from occasionally, for messaging to all the time, for everything.

This first wave will disappoint. But the march towards the holodeck will continue. My money is on a GPU manufacturer like Nvidia biding their time on the sidelines. Getting ready to do a low power, super high quality stand alone headset with a single camera to place into a room that can pick up hands and head.

2
ir31337h4x0r Avatar
1
5 Months ago

I like what you've said here, but I think you still need 2 cameras (though they can be pretty close together). The reason for this is depth. 1 camera can catch 2 dimensions (up/down, left/right). For tracking depth (or how close/far something is from the camera, a second camera really helps. I knew a guy once with only one eye, and he still managed to perceive depth pretty well, so I'm willing to admit I'm wrong, but thats my opinion anyway.

1
am0eba Avatar
28
1 Year ago

Very nice article, one that I'm likely to share with friends once this topic comes up in a discussion!

2
morderkaine Avatar
2
1 Month ago

Except that its pretty incorrect....

Read what HappyHimitsu wrote.

VR is nothing short of mind blowing. When Fallout 4 VR and other AAA titles are available people will disappear into a game for several hours at a time without realizing it.

1
tekknik Avatar
3
4 Weeks ago

I think you proved one part of the article true, you're ignoring the fact that this is now the 2nd, possibly 3rd rendition of VR. Why did it not take off before yet now will? what's different this go around? People can already immerse themselves for hours without the use of VR. the future i see for this current rendition of VR is not entertainment style games at all, but archvis and training simulators. most of the gamers i know will forget VR even exists unless you remind them. Sorry but Ii can't see it working out this time either, at least not for games.

1
MrAptronym Avatar
358
1 Year ago

This pretty accurately sums up my views on VR as well. It is neat, but so were 3D TVs and Motion controls.

2
Silentius Avatar
172
1 Year ago

Great article. I really enjoyed reading it. Personally I'm a little cynical about the long term prospects for VR in the living room. There is, however, another potential avenue that the technology might go down. Think VR arcades: spacious locations (old warehouses etc.) where you can pay an hourly rate to plug your head-gear in and play the latest games. Much like a cinema, arcade owners would purchase mass licenses for each game at a significant premium (thus offsetting high development costs). Aficionados would be free to leap around the virtual world without running the risk of knocking over their mum's favourite china vase... Maybe I'm wrong - I kind of hope I am - but if VR does flop as a form of home entertainment, this is one way it could successfully fulfill it's promise.

2
KeefBaker Avatar
391
1 Year ago

I can totally see what you're saying, but I do hope you're wrong. The naive, hopeful part of me hopes that we can point at this article in 20 years like we point at old newspaper articles that said, "this internet thing will never catch on."

1
Mountain_Man Avatar
724
1 Year ago

I've never seen the point of VR for gaming. It's great for research and simulators, but casual gaming? I just don't see it. I think X-Plane or Euro Truck Simulator 2 would be awesome with a VR goggles, but that's about it. Part of the problem is that what we traditionally think of as "video games" really don't work particularly well in VR, so developers need to think of an entirely new kind of gaming experience to showcase VR at its best. I personally have no conception of what these games will be like, but I do know that simply retrofitting existing games isn't the answer.

The real question is, does an industry that has become increasingly adverse to risk have what it takes to reinvent the wheel and create games that could ONLY work in VR? I'm not so sure.

1
superkev72 Avatar
2
1 Year ago

Fairly poor logic. This assumes that VR is the almost the same every iteration. I was there for the previous ones and it was laughably bad. The enthusiasm was there but not the tech. IMHO the tech is there now. Also capital is flowing into VR in droves. 25% of devs are working on VR projects even without the numbers - something that has also never been approached. (last round devs were massively less than .2% developing for the platform). Now you also have capital flowing in from many niche industries. Capital from video card manufacturers because they ran out of running room to cause people to cycle their hardware.

1
teepeey Avatar
1
1 Year ago

Very thoughtful article I suspect you're right for now with two important caveats that will make you wrong medium term.

Caveat 1: Games will not be the driving force behind VR for a while. The technology is (I would guess) 3 to 5 years away from that. The UI just quite good or cheap enough to go mainstream on that yet. However, the adult movie industry is made for VR and will underwrite its success and keep it on life support till it's strong enough to thrive.

Caaveat 2: Interactive chatrooms will become a thing before gaming does. Watching Netflix with my girlfriend a thousand miles away.

Both those things will happen on phones first. Samsung is the gateway drug for VR and it will take a while IMHO. But I think it will get there in the end, just not with games leading the way.

1
kirkkh Avatar
1
1 Year ago

You selectively left out Sony's product.

1
SwiftFury Avatar
1
1 Year ago

If VR is not the future of video games,then what is it?Because video games are starting to get a bit boring.

1
The Happy Space Invader Avatar
1

What proportion of potential customers have the living room space to use VR? What proportion of them would feel comfortable isolating their sight and hearing from everyone around them? What proportion are aware that the genres they most commonly play right now will likely never be represented in VR format?

So many questions unanswered... or perhaps deliberately silenced by the expensive hype machine that, frankly, looks indistinguishable from the hype train that preceded 3D television, Kinect, light guns, and so on.

I'm going to sit this one out. If, in 5 years, I was wrong... then I'm still a winner because I've saved my cash and can now afford a better class of VR headset (and will have a much better selection of games) than any of you who were suckered in to becoming beta testers for this technology.

1
DuaneDog Avatar
1
9 Months ago

This actually doesn't even cover the worst part of VR in terms of adoption. I believe actually the tech isn't even the issue at all. It's actually quite good and why people are like WOW the first time. Part of this 'new' wearing off is not about games.

The real issue is that we live in a social culture. How often do you find yourself sitting alone? If your wife is in the other room and you are playing video games all afternoon without VR at least you can have some conversation back and forth and react and talk to each other. VR is just too isolating to your current reality. The virtual reality is awesome... but to experience it you have to give up real reality. And that is a LOT to give up. You don't appreciate that aspect of VR until you own it.

1
[ZZZ] Ronin Avatar
9
2 Months ago

Then you need another VR kit for your wife, so you can be in the same word and talk with each other with the mike :)

1
*sigh* Avatar
230
6 Months ago

I dont care much about 3d, and I was around the first time.

But if there was a game where you could bitch slap lucky bullshittery palmer repeatably in a dunny cubicle with a power glove. I reckon i could get 3 punches for a dollar.

Damn I hate how you lot recycle articles. Your almost at the 3 punch limit.

1
The10thX Avatar
1
6 Months ago

The problem is simply the application of VR currently doesn't meet a good enough standard to back up the price tag, most games are just simple gimmicks and focus on the whole moving around 360* aspects, whereas i think they should simply focus on immersion, like properly utilising 3d sound and movement in a stealth game where you have to use the immersion to your advantage to do better or smth, all these games just remind me of when the wii was released and every developer shoved motion controls in to everything like mad

1
gabrieldlbien Avatar
19
6 Months ago

I'm going to disagree with you on every single point. :P Let's analyse.

A point you didn't give a headline to, but still mentioned, is price. But the Oculus has already reduced the amount it'll set you back with the asynchronous spacewarp techno-magic, as well as started developing a wireless, less powerful one (though still better than a phone) for a far better price. So They've already shown it'll get cheaper, that's one point.

Second point. You say they won't entice major devs, but Ubisoft, Epic and 4A games have already made or begun making games for the platforms. They're not necessarily AAA games, but they're still being made. So there's the devs, but we've also got some really nice full games coming out/released for VR, like Edge of Nowhere and Lone Echo.

Point three. Speaking as a frequent user of VR, though admittedly not an owner, I don't notice the pixels and such, and that's on the Vive which I'm told is slightly less powerful. The only time I notice anything like that is when it's not on my head properly, but that's as simple as readjusting it, as you would a pair of glasses. And I find it's constantly an amazing experience, Almost regardless of the game. It's fun, it's 'immersive', everytime I use it I just want to use it more. I accept that part is just my personal experience, but as that can be said about your point as well, I think it's valid.

Also, it makes some people sick in some situations. I have a friend who gets incredibly motion sick in everything, but put her in a game like Double Shot or Elite Dangerous, she's totally fine. It's also recommended not to play for a really long time, but as that's the exact same as normal gaming, I think that's fine.

I can't technically disagree with the three year decline, partially because I've already stated my views, partially because who knows what'll happen.

But what I will say is that I think if VR fails at all, it'll be because of the people who say it will. It will be because people who are less impressed by it constantly tell the people that haven't tried it how shit it is. The less impressed may not be many, but they're the most vocal.

I should follow this up by saying I have no issue with you, Phil, and none of this is a personal attack. But I don't think this sort of article has much of a benefit beyond the views it will get. I don't think that's why you posted it, that's just how I see it. If that makes sense.

1
Enclose Avatar
1
3 Months ago

Agreed with all of what you said. I'd like to add another point. The article basically only focuses on the gaming aspect of VR. But there is enormous potential in business/industry applications.

The focus now is primarily on VR systems as gaming platforms, but once people catch on the near limitless potential it has to revolutionize certain industries (thinking about design, engineering, ...) the interest in this technology will skyrocket. Just pick any topic whatsoever and start fantasizing about ways VR can improve on it, you are guaranteed to think of something.

So yeah, I think the VR developers kinda made a mistake by advertising it as a gaming platform, kinda shoving themselves into a box. The public perception is now skewed to see VR in a gaming context only. If we can get past that in-the-box thinking regarding this technology, it will definitely be here to stay this time.

0
Mental Paradox Avatar
1
6 Months ago

I agree, this cycle, like the last, will fail. But this doesn't mean VR is doomed. The next cycle might be the final breakthrough, or perhaps the one after that. The truth is, the tech simply isn't good enough yet. Perhaps in 20 years, we'll have made advances in other areas (like neural networks, computer-brain interfaces) to make VR less clunky, and more accessible. Here's to hoping.

1
[ZZZ] Ronin Avatar
9
2 Months ago

VR is still at early stage, quality will improve, price will drop, it won't crash, the actual experience is too convincing ("Wow" factor is always there for each new game tested). VR will not kill 2D gaming, it's another way to play game. For sickness motion, it is a matter of training and habit, the negative effects disappear completely after a certain time, your brain will learn how to react, FPS with normal motion is now great for me in VR. The content should quickly increase, and the quality of VR games also, more developers are converting their AAA games to make them compatible with the VR (like Fallout 4). The new game engines allow for near-instant integration of the VR with much greater ease, allowing everyone to add this feature without the risk of being only an exclusive VR title. Some great developpers put their effort on some VR exclusive title with great quality, like Lone Echo who's coming later this year.

1
Kolvarg Avatar
4
6 Months ago

You're forgetting about something, though.

VR Porn.

Never underestimate the selling power of porn.

It might not be enough to keep gaming-specific VR sets alive and well, but together with other media and some games offering support to it, I believe it won't just go away into the fail books like the VirtualBoy.

I think VR in general (at the very very least cheap smartphone-based VR headsets) will survive long enough for tech improvements to make it better and more accessible, at least as a niche peripheral or in arcade-style VR gaming places or something.

But yea, it's defenitely being overhyped and almost certainly overpraised.

0
ThatThereTim Avatar
25
2 Months ago

"motion sickness, the discomfort, the constant tech issues"

A year on: glad to see these are not an issue.

"the sense of its novelty wearing off"

Yeah, the thing is: it isn't. Again, a year on, glad to see this isn't a thing. Tbh my group of friends are all more excited for the "year 2" VR games coming out now than traditional games. Have you played Robo Recall? My lord.

"the sky-high investment cost"

Meh, it's not that sky high now. £400 for PSVR, £700 for PC (and £700 to a PC gamer is a drop in the ocean).

"the problem with traditional WASD controls becoming suddenly disorienting"

Eh? When'd that happen?

"and how counter-intuitive it is after years of gaming on a screen to have to physically turn 180 degrees to look behind you?"

Sat down yes - but that's why the control systems allow you to 180 without turning your head. On room-scale it's not counter-intuitive at all.

I'm interested to see how the next 2 years play out - after this year it's much more of a positive platform than this article predicts.

0
Salamicrow Avatar
2 Weeks ago

Pretty much my story. Tried the Rift out on release, amazed initially, then found nothing to do on it, and I had such a bad reaction to the camera movement in Lucky's Tale I had to lie down for 4 hours after 15 minutes of gaming.

Even on games I could tolerate I didn't like the cable attached at the back or wearing the headset which got uncomfortable really quickly. For immersive I have an ultra-wide monitor and my next upgrade will likely be a curved monitor.

The sooner it is dead the better.

However, I think it might bump along for a bit longer because unlike developing for a new platform, VR is often an add-on to existing development so is less risky. Games which make VR optional can be successful - Everspace is really fun on a normal screen, and the Solus Project which is pitched at the VR market is an excellent 'trapped on alien world' adventure on a normal set up too.

0
Mr. Snazzypants Avatar
9
1 Year ago

I'm tempted to call this out as "clickbait contrarian" but a lot of the criticisms could be leveled against the Oculus Rift that just launched and its sad focus on seated experiences with an Xbox controller instead of proper motion controls and 1:1 tracking. Where this article is lacking is its failing to recognize how the Valve/HTC Vive has taken VR to that next level and largely made sim-sickness a thing of the past. But you gotta have those clicks....

-1
Phil Iwaniuk Avatar
69
1 Year ago

I've spent a lot of time with both seated, controller experiences and those in which I'm free to wander around and use motion controllers - the Vive's great at this. Its controllers work beautifully, and its tracking in a large room is really impressive. It still won't catch on.

1 - the entry requirements are simply too high. Vive + high end PC + room = niche install base.

2 - Those experiences are amazing when you play them the first time, for ten minutes, at a conference show floor. That excitement diminishes quickly after that point. Once you've invested in bringing that experience home, you're going to want a longer-form game/app to justify your investment.

1
Mr. Snazzypants Avatar
9
1 Year ago

I get point #1 and agree that *for now*, VR is going to remain a niche market for the hardcore crowd. But competition and economies of scale will drive costs down and lower that barrier to entry before too long.

Time will tell about #2, but I will be very surprised if I tire of the many immersive experiences that will soon be possible and available. I wonder if you're looking at VR as an extension of what people currently enjoy about gaming and technology and not the new frontier that it represents. I have little interest in playing Call of Duty or similar titles in VR mode, and tons of interest playing around with the likes of Tilt Brush, PSVR's Dreams, Fantastic Contraption and Photogrammetry journeys. No way that gets tiresome after 10 minutes unless those creative, exploratory types of experiences don't interest you. I know quite a few people who have no interest in gaming and are very excited about VR, so perhaps this technology is ushering in a new demographic entirely.

0
Phil Iwaniuk Avatar
69
1 Year ago

Yep, I totally agree with you there. Tilt Brush is great, and there's strong potential for virtual tourism experiences (like Everest, with more polish and fewer control gimmicks). Lots to be done in the educational space wit VR too.

But yes, I'm coming at this from a gaming perspective. I think it'll fail as a gaming product. I'm sure it'll survive in some form, in car showrooms or theme parks or enthusiast's bedrooms. But not as a gaming platform. Hopefully we'll get a few gems along to the way, though.

0
Belimawr Avatar
1175
1 Year ago

I can't see VR lasting long or being the next big thing like people claim, it is largely a niche product aimed at the high end tech enthusiast, sure there are a few cheaper ways to buy in but they still aint great.

you have the PSVR that overall system+ VR setup is lower, then you have Samsung VR that just needs a cheap face mount (for lack of a better name) and one of their recent flagship phones so if you have the phones it's a low priced way to get VR. then you have cardboard by google opening other "cheap" alternatives.

but ultimately like with 3D I see people who do get VR slowly loosing the will to put on the headset to play games when they could just sit and a desk and look at the screen.

so yes I see VR making some firms money as long as they don't fall into the trap of over production that so many firms do, as the high price point and the high end tech market should be a good money spinner, but come down to the regular gamers and it will be far too price prohibitive by the time you throw in what is actually needed for a good VR experience.

I've take hate for this stance for a quite a while now, but it is just another novelty that people are getting overhyped about due to limited access, once people have full access I don't see them lasting long. (already know several people who have been using the early kits and now they are just dust collectors as the novelty wore off)

-2
Mr. Snazzypants Avatar
9
1 Year ago

Have you ever even tried VR, let alone room-scale VR with the Vive's 1:1 motion tracking? Based on your tone and tired arguments comparing this to 3D (shudder....you really wonder why you get flack?), I'm going to guess you have no experience on which to base your Luddite-stance...

1
Belimawr Avatar
1175
1 Year ago

as always the same reply if anyone dares say something against VR. you are welcome to keep assuming that everyone who dislikes it hasn't used as that will keep your narrow minded view on the subject much simpler.

1
tetris42 Avatar
43
1 Year ago

Well the thing is, your argument wasn't worded like someone who HAD tried VR. In fact, it's a stereotypical argument of someone who HASN'T (whether that's true or not). You talk about narrow-minded, but you didn't say one positive thing either. Typically those who have tried it, but are against it are along the lines of "it was absolutely amazing, but made me sick" or "the screen door effect is too much" or "it's amazing, but too expensive or won't support enough games" Just about no one who has tried it is so utterly dismissive of it without recognizing at least some of its potential, because it is THAT different than all other media. The people who do are usually the ones who literally haven't tried it and who think it's the same as 3D movies. So again, if that's not the case with you, you certainly spoke exactly like they do.

2
Belimawr Avatar
1175
Belimawr replied to tetris42
1 Year ago

why does there have to be a positive? that is just as narrow minded as you claim my comment is.

I have seen it for what it is and from where I stand outside of the novelty/gimmick value there is no real positive, it doesn't really add anything to the games and most of the games are just shoehorning features in to claim they make use of it.

the reason i compare it to 3D as it was another tech that a few years back people were claiming would be the future of TV/Movies/Games and it never came off, the point is from where I stand all the super positive claims are still living on limited use as they are still in the honeymoon period.

the only thing positive I can say about VR is it is leading to advances in AR that has a much wider application and could have much more use if developed properly.

1
smishmain (veyper) Avatar
1
1 Year ago

looks like someone has never used VR before, lol

1
HappyHimitsu Avatar
6
1 Year ago

How can somebody who has tried the Rift claim that *BEING INSIDE OF THE GAME* doesn't add anything to it?

That's just seems half-witted lol. Well, at least you are only one very small opinion.

1
superkev72 Avatar
2
1 Year ago

Your argument reads as if you don't know what it is or how it works. Perhaps you should try it prior to judgments. I had a similar attitude as you until I tried the latest hardware.

1