Why Less Is Often More – The Changing Face of Virtual Reality

November 22 00:18 2017 Print This Article

IMAGE SOURCE: PONG via FACEBOOK

It’s fair to say that despite being one of the most hotly anticipated technological advances in years, virtual reality (VR) has failed to deliver on many of its initial promises. At the beginning of last year, it was predicted that virtual reality would generate around $5.1bn by the end of 2016. Instead, figures show that around 6.3 million devices were sold during the entirety of 2016 – which equates to around $1.8bn in terms of revenue. In a bid to rejuvenate the software, developers have sought to change tact in terms of the games they try to develop and have instead targeted some of the more simple games the market in the hope that they will create what can be deemed as truly immersive experiences.

Transforming Classic Concepts

Those who remember the original Pong from 1972 will probably be wondering just how much of an immersive experience a game with two paddles and a ball can be. Munich-based immersive gaming company HoldeckVR is currently in the process of creating giant virtual reality gaming arenas by using optical and radio tracking. The result? Holopong VR – a virtual reality version of the classic pong game which can be enjoyed on Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset. In fact, the game already holds an average rating of 9 stars out of 10 over on the digital distribution platform Steam. When you consider that VR Pong basically involves all of the fun associated with playing table tennis with your friends but from the comfort of your own home with your drink of choice by your side, it’s easy to see why it’s become a hit among both casual and avid gamers.

Still on the topic of classic games turned VR, casino gaming software developer Microgaming offers a truly immersive, award-winning roulette experience in which players are transported to a roulette table in outer space through the Oculus VR headset, which tracks the players’ hand movements and proceeds to project them into the 3D world. Players are thus allowed to make inside and outside roulette bets by using the same movements they would were they playing at a roulette table in real life. While roulette is indeed a classic game, it has been growing in online popularity recently due to the fact the rules are fairly simple to learn but also allows for a number of variations for more advanced players, including multi-wheel and multiplayer roulette.

Available on Steam and developed by Zen Studios, Pinball FX2 VR is a brilliantly immersive experience for those who are fans of the traditional pinball that was once the jewel in the crown of offline gaming for most Microsoft PC owners. While the controls couldn’t be simpler, the VR element means that the more seasoned campaigners amongst us are able to hover over the actual pinball machine and replicate all those years of misspent youth when you squandered the quarters that your mother gave you for the local arcade. Good times.

Adventure and Simulation

Many people within the immersive gaming industry feel that the technology took on way too much far too quickly, which could well explain why firms are now deciding to take a step back and focus on quality as opposed to quantity. One of virtual reality’s next big leaps could well come in the form of Pacman, where the user takes on the role of the spherical, ghost hunting blob as opposed to controlling him through the treacherous labyrinth. Believe it or not, this isn’t an entirely original concept – there was a virtual reality Pacman game released in 1996, which is all the proof you need that VR developers really are going back to basics.

Ever heard the expression fly like an eagle? Well, now you can. In a post-apocalyptic world free of humans and full of animals, you can use your PlayStation VR headset to take on the role of an Eagle flying across the picturesque city of Paris. Whilst this is one of the most simple concepts on the list, reviews have praised the game for its spectacular graphics and truly immersive experience. Whether money is too tight to buy a drone or if you simply don’t fancy strapping a GoPro to your child’s parrot, then this may just be the game for you. IGN gave the game four out of five stars in their review.

Without a doubt the most curiously titled game on the list, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is definitely unusual in its gameplay and story. One of your friends is charged with the task of diffusing a bomb whilst the rest of you simply read through a bomb instruction manual in order to help your friend diffuse the bomb. Easy right? Right. However, the atmosphere can get a little tense if people don’t stick to their task and the game is heavily reliant on team communication. This is surely the moment that you’re gossiping friends have been waiting for.

It’s Still Early Days For VR

With regards to virtual reality, you could that we are simply seeing the teething problems that all new technology goes through when it is first introduced to a new market. However, with the projected sales and units sold with regards to headsets nowhere near meeting projected targets, the situation is quickly becoming serious. Targeting the more simple games for a truly immersive experience is certainly a step in the right direction but it will be interesting to see where the industry, which is shouldering a great deal of expectation, goes from here.

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About Article Author

Jonathan Yaniv
Jonathan Yaniv

Jonathan is the founder and editor-in-chief of TrustedNerd.com. Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jonathan is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you’d like to be considered for publishing? Send Jonathan an email, jonathan [at] trustednerd.com

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