Virtual Reality will take off because “gamers are bored”

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I’m pretty excited for Virtual Reality. While I don’t have the cash to splurge on an Oculus Rift or a Vive and the necessary upgrade, Sony’s PlayStation VR is becoming pretty tempting. While the technology has its naysayers and agents of doom, when VR is done right, it can be a transcendental experience, especially in the case of horror games.

More than just a new way of looking at games, good Virtual Reality tricks your brain in unexpected ways – and you’ll often find people doing things like trying to lean on digital tables that aren’t really there (and falling over as a result), or trying to stick their heads out of imaginary windows and generally just looking silly.

It’s a hard sell though. Not only does a potential consumer need to play a VR game to get the fuss, but they need to play the right one. Couple that with manufacturing issues and shipping delays and it’s easy to understand why fiscal expectations for Virtual Reality’s performance this year and next aren’t quite as high as they were.

Still people will buy in to VR, says Jesse Schell, game designer and Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. Why?

Because right now, gamers are bored.

“We haven’t had anything really new and exciting happen in gaming in, like, five years. Gamers are ready for something new. They’re hungry for it and they’re ready to spend on something new.

He also says that “…this feeling of presence is a thing that most people haven’t experienced. It’s going to be the thing that everybody is talking about. We’re going to see a slow expansion out into the world… but people are going to be so viral about it, because when people have a good VR experience it’s like they get religion. They can’t stop talking about it.”

While I do think that very many gamers are bored with the state of things (there seems to be, understandably, a large AAA focus on safe properties like sequels and open worlds) I’m not entirely certain they’re bored enough to throw down thousands just for new experiences.

Last Updated: April 25, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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