VR is the word on everyone’s lips when it comes to what’s up and coming in the gaming world. There has been high demand for the Oculus Rift, the innovative high-end headset that’s clearly driving early adoption among gadget fans. But virtual reality gaming is gaining traction outside of geekdom, with 5 million people already dabbling in VR experiences with tech like the Samsung Gear VR headset powered by Snapdragon’s best mobile processor, which provides the best in virtual reality graphics.
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According to research data from Statista, sales of virtual reality products will reach $5.2 billion by 2018 but this is year zero for virtual reality. Consumer headset options remain fairly limited – and relatively expensive – with the Oculus and HTC Vive leading the way. Companies like vrAse or the 360specs have development teams working on less expensive headsets for mobile like the Gear VR. And mobile is likely where VR is headed in the context of widespread adoption.
Just as serious gamers eventually looked beyond the console to embrace the joys of mobile gaming, they will look beyond Oculus to see the benefits of mobile VR. At the same time, casual gamers will flock toward emerging less expensive options out of simple curiosity. Ultimately, both will find that specialized VR headsets and phone-powered mobile headsets can be used to play games with graphics that are more life-like and more versatile than ever before, meaning that VR is now more accessible to gamers than ever, whether you’re a hardcore World of Warcraft player or just make the odd trip to goldenbingo.co.uk..
Now that technology can keep up with the graphic demands of virtual reality and developers are zeroing in on controller options that allow the user to grab and manipulate virtual objects, content creators are stepping up to see what VR can do. To take full advantage of VR games, titles have to not only look amazing, but also deliver experiences that are immersive and compelling enough to keep users coming back for more even as the kinks – e.g., motion sickness – are still being worked out of the technology.
Standout big name titles include Crytek’s The Climb, a climbing sim that has players scaling vertigo-inducing crevasses and cliffs, and Oculus’ space fight game, EVE Valkyrie. iRacing puts players behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4-30 and Rock Band VR lets everyone live out their rock star dreams. That’s just a small sampling of the notable games for the current crop of platforms but more are coming. And there is a flood of indy apps being released daily, some good, some not – but fascinating fun for early adopters.
It’s this rapid development of new content (that’s only getting better as time passes) that will likely keep VR gaming in the spotlight. Once upon a time Virtuality, Nintendo and Sega’s early virtual reality efforts fell flat in part because the available titles were simply not compelling enough to keep consumers hooked. But now as millions more people give VR headsets a try, finding hundreds of virtual reality titles right there in the app store, chances are this once niche tech will become a household gaming staple.
By Jordan Davis