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VR needs to stop “coasting on novelty”

2 min read


PlayStation VR is coming tomorrow – if you happen to live in the first world. Europe, The Americas and even our friends in Oceania will be able to jump in to the more affordable VR set up on October 13. Those of us at the southernmost tip of Africa will have to wait until early next year for that privilege – but that’s not really a bad thing.

It means that when it is finally available here, it’ll have a library that’s worth playing, maybe. Right now, according to Oculus’ John Carmack, VR is coasting along on novelty factor. The many of you who assert that it’s a gimmick? For now, you’re probably right. It’ll be up to developers to change that.

Speaking at Oculus Connect this past weekend, the Oculus CTO said that VR needs to do things that offer better value.

“We are coasting on novelty, and the initial wonder of being something people have never seen before,” he continued. “But we need to start judging ourselves. Not on a curve, but in an absolute sense. Can you do something in VR that has the same value, or more value, than what these other [non-VR] things have done?”

He says that VR developers need to be harder on themselves, and that’s not hard to argue with. Tethered VR may be making its break in to the mainstream with the launch of PlayStation VR tomorrow, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of functionality – and even simple things like UI.

On that note, while PlayStation VR is making the whole experience a little more affordable on the core side of things, Carmack believes that the future of VR lies in mobile.

“There might be a hundred million PCs that can do this, but I believe in the mission that Facebook had when it bought into Oculus, of having a billion people in VR,” he said. “So it’s not going to be a higher and higher bar for performance; it’s going to be a lower and lower bar for adoption.”

The only way to do that is through mobile implementation – using the higher end PC VR as a breeding ground for ideas and innovation, and then feeding and adapting that to lower end devices.

Last Updated: October 12, 2016


  1. Dungeon of JJ

    October 12, 2016 at 09:14

    Yea, I’d love to get into VR but pricing is the main issue. I also think we need better VR supported games, not these flimsy VR-only titles that have no substance that we’ve seen so far.


  2. Ottokie

    October 12, 2016 at 09:14

    First game I am playing with VR is Elite: Dangerous!


    • GooseZA

      October 12, 2016 at 09:17

      That would be amazing.


    • Geoffrey Tim

      October 12, 2016 at 09:24

      EVE: Valkyrie is mind-blowing.


      • Ottokie

        October 12, 2016 at 09:26

        Will have to go take a look see


    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      October 12, 2016 at 09:30

      Check out Thumper as well


    • HairyEwok

      October 12, 2016 at 09:34

      Same. Elite: Dangerous with VR and a full HOTAS setup.


  3. Original Heretic

    October 12, 2016 at 09:26

    As much as I’d move to go the VR route right now, there are reasons I’m waiting a few years before I do:

    1) I cannot afford it right now.
    2) The tech is still rather new and very much in the teething stages, so it’s only going to be better from hereon in. All those kinks are going to get worked out over the next decade or so.
    3) I cannot afford it right now.
    4) Hardware aside, game developers are still learning how to properly make these games, so that’s ALSO going to get better in a few year.
    5) I cannot afford it right now.
    6) I really cannot afford it right now.


    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      October 12, 2016 at 09:36

      7) Because Raptor Rants
      8) You nor I can afford it now 😛


      • Admiral Chief

        October 12, 2016 at 09:44

        Dat 7…


        • Original Heretic

          October 12, 2016 at 09:52

          That one lost me. Enlighten me, please.


        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          October 12, 2016 at 09:56



      • Original Heretic

        October 12, 2016 at 09:53

        Points 2 and 4 are merely me trying to justify to myself why I need to wait. The other points are far more pertinent.


    • PC_Principal

      October 15, 2016 at 08:44

      Have you looked into Gear VR? It’s an actually affordable way of getting a good portion of the premium VR experience.


  4. Archdruid Kromas

    October 12, 2016 at 09:31

    The problem i see with VR is feature creep. I am getting a Vive but I could have done without the controllers/lightboxes as the games I will be using it for will be better with kb/mouse (subnautica/DayZ/not Ark anymore) or HoTaS (Star Citizen/Elite/Eve).

    All those will be sit down experience anyways and all of them cept Eve work perfectly fine without VR.

    Basically what I am saying is they should stop making VR exclusives and rather focus on making VR a submersive enhancement to already popular games.

    Then add feature like movement controllers/full body movement. etc etc.

    Well at least that is my thoughts.

    Edit:Also HL3 VR will jump VR sales.
    Basically I want HL3.



    • Dane

      October 12, 2016 at 10:18

      Legend has it, every time HL3 is mentioned, it is delayed by another hour.


      • Archdruid Kromas

        October 12, 2016 at 10:48

        Legend also has it every time EA makes pointless DLC the HL3 dev time speed up an hour so it evens out. 😛


    • PC_Principal

      October 15, 2016 at 08:42

      Couldn’t agree more.


  5. Dane

    October 12, 2016 at 10:14

    That’s a pretty fair observation. I haven’t seen more than an hour’s worth of fun in most VR titles. Maybe one or two adaptions that I’ve seen on Steam. For now it’s just an expensive wow-factor novelty, but if/when developers do start stepping up, it could be a huge feat in gaming.


  6. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 12, 2016 at 11:11

    Trevor is right again… CONFIRMED.


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