Casual and AAA Games Promise Bright Future for VR
Virtual reality didn't make quite the gigantic splash that many expected this year. While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have ushered virtual reality into homes across the world, they still remain on the periphery of gaming as a novelty more than an accepted medium. However, big changes are coming in the world of VR gaming that could help to cement the technology's place in the public consciousness.
Despite a string of interesting games, there has yet to be that one killer app for VR that will get everyone talking. There are plenty of virtual experiences and flight simulators, but very few games have made the mainstream take notice of the real potential for VR. So far, a port of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift may be the best showcase for the medium's possibilities. Minecraft is also the most recognizable game that actually supports a VR device and, while popular, only appeals to only a very specific subset of gamers. That being said, there are definitely some big projects on the horizon that are sure to help capture the public's interest.
It finally looks as though VR gaming enthusiasts will be treated to the AAA experiences they've been waiting for. Earlier this summer vaunted developer Bethesda Softworks announced it was working on VR renditions of some of its biggest games, including Fallout 4 and Doom. The initial console editions of both of these titles were released to near universal critical acclaim, so bringing these hits to VR devices could be just the thing the fledgling technology needs.
Updated builds of both games for the HTC Vive were shown at Gamescom and the early impressions are positive, to say the least. According to early reports, the build of Doom is looking particularly promising, boasting an intuitive movement system and scaled environments that really take advantage of the Vive's room-scale technology. While no date has been set for Doom just yet, it seems more complete than Fallout 4, which is set for a 2017 release.
But it's more than just the big developers that are trying to take full advantage of offering greater levels of interactivity in gaming. Efforts can also be seen across the sphere of casual online gaming through the development of live casinos dedicated to creating a more dynamic experience for their players. Here, players can participate in their favorite games like poker, blackjack, and roulette with actual people dealing the cards and reacting to the game in real-time. The end result is much more like the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino, and it greatly increases the level of realism. Combining this level of interactivity with a simple VR interface could be huge. With games like Casino VR already on the market, it's likely only a matter of time before someone takes advantage of the opportunity.
With both major console titles and accessible casual games making their way to the platform, it looks like there's going to be something for everyone when it comes to the future of VR. Maybe the most important thing to remember is that we're still extremely early in the life cycle of an entirely new technology. The fact that VR gaming is even to be played in your living room was once the stuff of science fiction, so it's important to remember how far the tech has already come—and just how much there is to look forward to.