VR gaming is here to stay, and evolve. However, that evolution may be moving at too fast of a rate for companies to keep up. The mainstream adoption of VR itself has been a great blessing for developers and backers of the technology this generation. Some major flaws in the first round of VR still haven’t been addressed though, and that process is painfully slow – possibly meaning VR progress will be a lot slower than we all thought.
While at times disappointing it’s still a great thing that VR has “arrived” so to speak, and now has a foundation from which to grow. What would be great to see next is for a company to release a proper package with all of the new technology advancements that have been made since the first round of hardware releases hit. Microsoft simply investing in enabling third parties to make their own headsets is interesting, but not quite the convincing brand gamers need to trust VR is headed in the right direction and invest.
Currently there are too many add-ons and not enough software on the market to justify if they’ll actually be adopted or not in a meaningful gameplay experience. We need something like an HTC Vive 2 package with support for walking in virtual reality. This could easily be done using mostly just the same parts as the existing Vive if need be – but they need to let players walk around in open worlds using the Vive Trackers which could be temporarily marketed as foot trackers or leg trackers even though they can be used for more than one purpose in-game.
Teleporting as a movement function makes players sick after a couple of hours. Thumbsticks are not ideal either. I’ve still been enjoying lots of VR games though which are built around these problems. Racing wheels and cockpit flight stick games are also great in VR. I like virtual board games too, it’s very fun and they let you play with non-vr people as well.
Millions of VR gaming headsets have been sold now between Vive and the PS4’s new Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR for short). Vive has essentially smoked Oculus, and Valve is behind it – they just didn’t want to own the fault if it failed, so they let HTC also keep their name on it. Valve and Carmack and Oculus shared all VR information until the Facebook merger with Oculus. That’s why Vive is better. Facebook is a typical corporation, but Vive and Steam VR are the embodiment of dev legends discussions manifested.
That same strength is a weakness though, because then again it’s Valve. They suck at support, and produce no content.They are lazy as hell and so slow and perfectionist too. The foot trackers already exist as an add-on but most players have no clue that one would even be needed for ideal VR experiences. If they get motion sick, they won’t even know why and just give up on VR entirely most likely.
These add-on trackers can be used for anything the developer chooses, which is actually the right approach most likely but we need way more games that are currently not done yet to release and show the industry the way they can be used. With so many VR headsets selling on the high-end, big companies are coming in late to the game and developing multi-year projects that we won’t see for a while. It’s coming though. The problem is, we still don’t know if these developers know or care about the movement problems discussed here.
To force a user to buy expensive trackers and/or dramatically ruin the game by designing it so predominantly around teleportation or crappy thumb-stick movements when it really needs to be leg gestures for walking like bending your knee slightly as if to step so you can traverse big maps in open worlds. Or, to track your feet, put you on a treadmill if you have even more money. But that’s not all marketed and supported by games yet, isn’t perfected, and even though it works at a high level players don’t know about it.
Vive looks good, it’s trippy, and it’s fun. The games that do exist are pretty interesting, all they need is to say “Here’s a Vive 2, Here’s PSVR 2 when PS5 comes, or PS4 Ultra rather” – since the PS4 Pro doesn’t do Ultra settings textures like my PC still. SO that’s the next logical step I think for them. PS4 Pro is good, I love it, but it’s got that console blur mask going on and less detail. Exclusive games are the ones that really make the difference, even with less spec due to more money and care being spent. That’s why gamers love Sony, they hire talent.
PSVR 2 to up the quality and get foot trackers involved, get rid of the Move and PS4 Camera for better controllers and tracking units, require the PS4 Ultra console if necessary for the extra high resolution and tracking accuracy. This is a likely course of action for Sony – but will be a way harder road. They need a Vive 2 to first show them the right direction.
Complete backwards compatibility and catering to the existing Vive and PSVR userbase in ways that make them feel appreciated would be absolutely crucial to avoid souring the market and ruining the momentum of sales of course.
It would still only be a small step up from what we already have now, but with a more uniform understanding for the consumer and developers of VR games that players need to virtually explore and stop f****ing teleporting! Of course, slightly better resolutions and whatever latest controllers they want to shove at us are acceptable evils to bring this progress forward. The headset can upgrade a lot but I think they’ve finally reached a place where it’s going to stay on the market and evolve, and that’s exciting.