10 things you need to know about virtual reality gaming

Do you remember the video games you used to play as a kid? You were totally immersed in the game world, fascinated, and unable to leave your console or computer until you completed a level.

In the last years, the large number of video games, their availability and the fact they have become more complex have had a negative effect on the gaming experience – we are not as thrilled as we used to by these virtual worlds anymore and we often pause the game to check a text message or we minimize the game window to read the latest news on social networks.

Of the roughly 18m VR headsets that were shipped worldwide in 2017, 60 per cent were bought by consumers and 40 per cent by companies, researchers say. Among game makers, gamers and science and technology companies, the new-economy VR, when done well, is being called a “disruptive technology”.

Playstations and mobile headsets — such as the Xbox One or PlayStation VR — have been the traditional choice for video games, but VR has found a wider audience in recent years. San Francisco, for example, has joined a growing list of US cities, including Chicago, Tokyo and Chicago, where cities are planning to host enormous experiences, including mini-theatres that will play 2D movies and mini-robot exhibitions.

The share price of Sony Computer Entertainment, the unit of Sony that makes the PlayStation 4 game console, has almost doubled over the past year. In 2017 its sales of VR accessories were up 71 per cent and its global market share for VR gear increased from 9 per cent to 17 per cent, according to Niko Partners. There are currently few games aimed at providing social interaction.

WeChat and other social media sites can provide a way of interacting and viewing games in person and others are developing gaming related features and applications.

The video game industry has prepared a response to the reduced lack of involvement from consumers, and a part of it is virtual reality gaming. Let’s see what the main facts about this type of gaming experience are:

1. It’s similar to going to 3D cinema

Virtual reality gaming allows you to experience a three-dimensional environment and interact with it during the game. This makes you stay wired to the game and find the experience more intense compared to typical video games. Bio-sensing technologies make it possible to detect a person’s presence in a game. One can use a data glove or an entire body suit which has sensors attached for recording movements made by the gamer. A computer interprets these movements and delivers responses within that space. Although it sounds technical, using this type of equipment is very simple and allows you to become a vital part of the game.

2. Access to 3D Internet

These tools can also be used to have access to a three dimensional Internet where you can explore websites in a dynamic manner. Instead of clicking on links and using the mouse or keyword to explore a web page, you will be able to touch the page and manipulate it. It looks like you will still have distractions that will tempt you, even in a virtual reality gaming world!

3. Complex equipment that not everybody can afford

The idea of manipulating virtual worlds through body movement caught by a sensor means all kinds of devices have been or will be invented to achieve this in the most unexpected manners: multiple screen, treadmill floors, motion capture methods, headsets, and motion sensing controllers. Those who are passionate about gaming will probably be willing to spend the money on virtual reality equipment ensuring a deep game immersion.

4. Virtual reality gaming has lost the train in 2016

Last year seemed to be the time for virtual reality games to take off, but this didn’t happen. Opinions like the ones expressed on The Verge website find a few explanations for this phenomenon: the lack of virtual reality games for the platforms which have already been developed, some titles making gamers to feel nauseous due to movement sickness, and some of the devices still being at the level of indie hardware experiments.

Virtual reality goggles

5. Virtual reality gaming does not necessarily require a headset

The BBC website presents a virtual reality gaming booth that doesn’t require a headset. You can simply step into the unit and not need to put a headset on to enjoy the experience. The innovation has originally been presented at the 2017 CES tech show in Las Vegas among other cutting-edge gaming products.

VR headset

6. Virtual reality consoles have been launched

Probably one of the best-known virtual reality consoles has been launched by Sony – the PlayStation VR. It is available at a reasonable price and it offers an accessible tethered virtual reality experience. This console enables you to play proprietary games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, but you can actually play any PS4 game by switching to theater mode. You will feel as if you were standing in front of a large screen, but on the other hand you will need to make an extra investment – a PlayStation Camera and a PlayStation Move controller bundle to enable motion controls.

7. Having a virtual gaming room in your own home is already possible

The HTC Vive package includes a headset, two motion controllers, and two base stations which can be used to create a VR area in your home. Instead of staying in your seat, you can act in a 10-foot cube and enjoy motion controllers more advanced than those provided by the PlayStation Move.

8. Hidden prices are still prohibitive for many consumers

A piece of equipment like HTC Vice costs around 800 dollars, and aside from that you will also need to afford a computer with plenty of power. Recommended options include an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and a GeForce GTX 970 GPU. The truth is that virtual reality gaming is accessible, but not entirely affordable. However, like all technology addressed to consumers, equipment for virtual reality gaming will become cheaper in the following years and find its place in more and more homes.

9. Oculus is another big name in the virtual reality gaming industry

Before PlayStation VR and HTC Vive were launched, Oculus used to dominate the game and its product Oculus Rift is still synonymous with virtual reality gaming. This device is not retailing anymore, but it used to be a little cheaper than Vive while it missed Vive’s whole-room virtual reality feature.

Vive headset

10. Virtual reality has been the dream of the video game industry since its very beginnings

This is what Michael D. Gallagher, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for video game companies, declared for NY Times: “The dream of virtual reality was born in our industry when we created the first virtual worlds. It’s only natural our industry’s passionate and creative innovators, who share that dream, would lead the way in the development of virtual reality.” Mark Zuckerberg is also interested into virtual reality technology, but discovered that developing a new computing platform based on this concept is more difficult than he expected: “These things end up being more complex than you think upfront. If anything, we may have to invest even more money to get to the goals we had than we had thought upfront.”
In the end, virtual reality gaming can be seen as just a small step towards implementing virtual reality into our lives at a larger scale – and so far, people seem to love it.

Virtual reality and smartphone