Don’t Be Fooled: VR Won’t Kill Off Traditional Gaming

Sure, it's a viable piece of tech, but it's not the end for traditional interactive entertainment.

Sure, it’s a viable piece of tech, but it’s not the end for traditional interactive entertainment.

The internet is big on knee-jerk reactions, unnecessary drama, paranoia, and outrageous hype. In other words, everything seems amplified by ten when looking up information on topics like virtual reality video games, where all you see, everywhere you turn, are phrases like “the future of gaming,” “you have to see it to believe it,” etc. And while I’m not saying this new VR tech isn’t viable and interesting, we definitely need to calm the hell down.

This massive hype has generated a series of concerned and very common questions, such as- “If I don’t want to get VR, does that mean I’m going to be left behind?” “Will all games only be available in VR in a few years? Or just all the best games?” “How soon will I have to upgrade?” Many are treating this not as the launch of a new gaming platform but as the arrival of a form of entertainment that will completely eradicate the current form of interactive entertainment. And really, nobody has to worry.

This is going to be a HIGHLY specialized area of the industry for a long time.

This is going to be a HIGHLY specialized area of the industry for a long time.

Firstly, developers will need a lot of time to really familiarize themselves with this new technology, and many have serious reservations concerning the first generation of true virtual reality titles for the likes of PlayStation VR, for instance. Furthermore, the difference between VR and standard gaming will be so drastic that many long-time gamers may balk at the option, and don’t forget that VR will initially appeal almost exclusively to the avid, hardcore gamer. If that group isn’t sold, it’ll take a while for this new tech to get off the ground (if it ever does).

In truth, there’s no knowing how fast it will grow. Not only will developers need time to master VR tech, but publishers won’t want to produce a lot of products for a small audience. And in the gaming world, even a few million is a pretty small audience; if only a very small percentage of PlayStation 4 owners get PSVR, for example, it’ll be hard to convince devs and pubs to dive fully into this new world. Don’t forget that creation and production costs for such games probably aren’t low, and every new endeavor will be a big risk, especially at the start.

On top of it all, we really need to accept that certain people – perhaps a lot of people – simply won’t be able to do VR. We posted an article earlier about the possible health implications of this tech, and that remains a major issue, whether game companies wish to face it or not. And even if we’re not talking about serious problems, it seems more than likely that VR gaming could increase the frequency/possibility of eye strain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, etc. in certain participants.  It just might not be a pleasant experience for a great many.

Then there’s the simple fact that not all game types will translate well to VR, and fans of certain genres don’t want to be left out in the cold. We may soon discover that only certain types of games work well within the VR space, while others simply feel awkward. I’m not even sure which genre makes the most sense in VR, which leads me to the final point: We know so little about this tech, about what to expect in the short- and long-term, that it’s ridiculous to worry about it replacing anything. At this point, I don’t think we can even say success is a foregone conclusion.

The bottom line is we’re a long, long way from virtual reality video games dominating the market, let alone eliminating standard interactive entertainment. It may never happen, in truth.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Be Fooled: VR Won’t Kill Off Traditional Gaming”

Of course it won’t. Anybody who thinks it does is just drinking the Kool-Aid. And they have no idea about the difficulties surrounding crazy new tech like this.

I’m worried about developers putting too much time and resources into this new tech, and sort of abandoning work on regular games. I’m not saying they’ll stop but we might see a little lull in great games from big developers for a while, as they all try to master this totally alien tech.

I’m interested to try it but my expectations aren’t that high.

I have zero interest in VR and it’s the same for everyone I know. I think maybe it’s because most of us are RPG or adventure fans, and I just don’t see any such experiences for VR (and I’m not sure I’d want to try them anyway).

It’s just a flashy gimmick as far as I’m concerned. Yeah, I know it’s not like 3D but really, I’m not sure it’s going to take off. It might stall for a while.

It’ll probably take off at first because all fads create some sort of starting surge. But it’ll die down not long after.

I don’t think VR gaming is going to “kill off” anything. In fact, I question if it’s even going to have any big impact after the first few months. So far, the whole thing just reminds me of 3D, PlayStation Move, etc. Nothing makes me think otherwise at this point.

Yeah, I’m not sure either. They keep saying it’s “revolutionary” and it’s “the future of gaming” but frankly, I remember the exact same boasts for both motion sensing and 3D. The bottom line is this tech, like all other tech, needs support and quality from developers, neither of which I’m convinced VR will get. Especially not out of the gate.

If VR ever actually did “kill off” traditional gaming, I wouldn’t be a gamer anymore. People can call me old-fashioned or whatever but when you grow up with your entertainment being a certain way, THAT’S what you want. So sue me.

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