In 2013, I was browsing YouTube and saw a video from one of my favorite Youtubers talking about a technology I had never heard of before. It was a very first model of virtual reality (VR) headset. It was a device that you would put on your head, and you would be in your own theater where you could watch movies or play video games. The problem was that at that time there was no widely available content made specifically for VR. It was created to be on a flat screen, then put into VR. Since then, we have seen immense improvements in technology. With systems like the Meta Quest and the Valve Index, virtual reality has become more mainstream than ever. This has led VR enthusiasts to wonder what the future of VR is and whether it will ever overtake traditional gaming as the primary way to play video games.
I don’t think VR will. I have several VR headsets and have been using VR for over four years, and I really like VR, but I don’t see VR taking over traditional games. There are things you can do on traditional games when using a normal controller and sitting in front of a TV that you can’t do when using VR. There are also games that work better in a traditional game sense. A VR basketball game would be fun, but it would have the same feel as 2K’s NBA series.
On the other hand, there are things you can do in VR that just aren’t possible in traditional games. A game like “Beat Saber” is not possible outside of virtual reality. “Beat Saber” is a rhythm game where you choose a song and blocks will come towards you and you have to use a lightsaber to cut them in a certain direction. Rhythm games are popular in traditional games, but a rhythm game like this wouldn’t be possible outside of VR. However, there are more gameplay mechanics you can do in traditional games, but not in VR, than the other way around.
Virtual reality is also not as accessible as traditional games. Virtual reality is a very physical medium for games. Games like the aforementioned “Beat Saber” and “Boneworks” are both very physical games. This also provides a limitation to some people. People with certain disabilities cannot play many VR games. This eliminates a group of people who are able to play traditional games but cannot use virtual reality. In the future, it’s possible we’ll start to see neuro-link technology that allows these people to access virtual reality, but that would be in the distant future, and it’s not a practical possibility for the moment or soon.
VR will continue to grow, and I think it will become more mainstream, but I don’t see it taking that leap to take over traditional gaming as a primary medium. VR is growing at a rapid pace, and we’ll see massive technological improvements over the next five to 10 years, and while it won’t become the mainstream form of gaming, I’m excited to see where it’s going.
Mark Warren can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MarkWarren1832