Virtual Reality will “completely change the world”

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Epic Games, purveyors of ubiquitous game engines, is investing heavily in Virtual Reality. According to company co-founder Tim Sweeny, the tech could “completely change the world.” Speaking to Polygon on the future of Epic and its game engine, and the future of games in general, Sweeny extolled Virtual Reality’s real virtues.

“We’re doing a huge amount of research in VR, working with Oculus kits,” he said. “We see this as a technology that will influence every game and every platform.

“It’s technology that I think will completely change the world. I think It’s going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones. You have to put it in perspective and realize we’re in maybe the [first-generation] iPhone stage right now where you have this really cool device, but it has some real flaws that prevents it from being a pervasive device for everyone.

While I do think that this time Virtual Reality is going to make a decent enough splash, I’m not sure it’ll quite reach the ubiquity and popularity of something like a smartphone. People “need” internet-connected phones, but nobody needs to be wrapped up in a digital world.

“There might be an audience for 10 million users of the current tech, but as it improves with each generation, the audience is going to keep growing until eventually you’re going to reach a critical point where you can put on one of these devices and have an experience that is effectively indistinguishable from reality.”

Just don’t expect the company to make any twitch-based VR shooters.

"Running at 30 miles per hour in an Unreal Tournament level makes you barf," Sweeny said.

Last Updated: April 2, 2014

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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