We’re on the cusp of virtual reality gaming as an in-home consumer mechanism, and as devices like the Oculus Rift get closer and closer to the mainstream, we’re learning more about just what kinds of games are going to be offered for this new format. In-home virtual reality gaming is a tricky concept, in that no matter how much a headset allows you to visualize an environment. You aren’t able to physically move in a manner that helps you explore that environment. Thus, it’s only natural that developers appear to be focusing primarily on games that can be seen in virtual reality yet controlled through fairly conventional means. In other words, you might be able to plant yourself in the middle of your favorite Call Of Duty level, but you’ll still likely be moving with a joystick. So what types of games is this going to work best with? And what are some of the popular genres that could stand to thrive behind the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality systems to follow? Here are a few educated guesses.
Atmospheric Horror Titles This is already emerging as the genre with the most potential for the Rift and virtual reality gaming in general, because games that fit this description are about slow exploration of a setting, rather than quick or excessive action. The point is to crawl down dark hallways and peek behind doors, and the real entertainment of it all is the shock you get now and then when something evil comes your way. Crave Online recently put together a slide show of 10 virtual reality games that could convince someone to try the medium, and about half the list concerned horror games. There was mention of an upcoming Paranormal Activity game, shark and dinosaur evasion experiences like The Deep and Time Machine, and even Capcom’s mysterious and evidently horrifying game Kitchen. Really, games like these should transition pretty naturally to virtual reality; it’s just easier to scare someone who’s “in” an environment, rather than only looking at it.
World Building Games This is a genre that’s long existed in one form or another through Sims-esque games, but needless to say the incredible popularity of Minecraft has made it more prominent. And according to CNET, Minecraft made a pretty big splash at this year’s E3 event, as a virtual reality version of the game was demonstrated on Microsoft’s HoloLens (an Oculus Rift competitor). If Minecraft in a virtual reality form sounds bizarre to you, think of it this way: the player in the demo essentially acted as a god, pinching and zooming in and out and interacting with the pixel block world as if actually within it. This holds some pretty amazing potential, particularly for a genre that’s already extraordinarily popular. Casino Games This is a different idea, because the casino game genre has in a sense already proven that it can thrive through interactive simulation.
That is to say, the online gaming community as it already exists is a digital version of an existing in-person game. Now, certainly you could make the argument that a Call Of Duty game is similarly a simulation of real battle, but not many genres already exist as digital versions of in-person games. So in a way, we already know that interacting with a casino environment from the home is a popular idea. But when you actually take a look at the immersive options at today’s online casinos, you begin to see the true potential of the genre in gaming. Betfair’s site now even include a live casino option, in which both competitors and dealers are real people—that you can see. That’s almost a mode of virtual reality in and of itself, and imagining using a virtual reality headset to actually sit at a poker table holds clear potential. Shooter Games I’ve already alluded to Call Of Duty a couple of times.
While this series in particular hasn’t yet emerged as an option for in-home virtual reality headsets, it’s almost unreasonable to assume the shooter genre won’t get there. There is movement and motion sickness concerns with the jaunty and action-packed nature of a shooter. To be sure, this would be a bigger adjustment than playing any of the games listed above. One solution comes from the Virtuix Omni, which is an alternate virtual reality gaming method that comes with a platform on which you’re able to move without actually going anywhere—but this is a more cumbersome and expensive in-home option.
Ultimately, while there are concerns, this genre is too big and vivid not to be adapted on a wide scale. There will be many more games on virtual reality platforms as well. We may see one-on-one brawlers, new takes on sports games, or even old favourites like Super Mario or Legend of Zelda titles. The aforementioned Crave article even included a vague suggestion that a Pokémon game could work in this new branch of gaming! But until we get to the point of a huge variety of games in different categories being available, look to the genres above to lead the way.
With that said, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comment section down below!
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