The question who asked for virtual reality headsets is interesting. I’ve yet to find any solid documentation on market demand for VR in itself, but yet the game industry periodically gives it a go and it has always failed in the exact same way; the headsets are cumbersome and the games aren’t that hot. The most likely reason why companies still dabble with VR is because of pop-culture.
Remember this? This was what future Internet was supposed to be
Technology doesn’t really carry in how good VR is. You can have the most cartoony VR as possible, but as long as there’s nothing taking the best use of it, i.e. the design is awful, worthless. Gaming as a whole seems to aim to deliver experiences, not games.
VR comes and goes because we seem to regard it as something that is part of the future. SF predicted we’d live on the Moon by the year 2000 but our souls are still weighted down by the gravity. Rather than being out there in space, we’re just sending drones. Fiction can make predictions and sometimes those come true, albeit nobody wanted to see 1984’s thought crime to become a thing.
With the PS VR Youtube is now filled with content creators putting up vids asking whether or not you should get one and comparing it to other VR items. While the word of the consumer might say We want VR, the head of the consumer rarely knows what it wants. Even Iwata knew this. That’s why we need observation first and foremost, and the actions of the consumers really doesn’t admire the VR. VR headsets themselves are part of pop-culture worldwide, especially in sci-fi, but none of the real world sets have left an impact. Well, outside Virtual Boy and that was because it sucked.
As said, no level of technological advancement will make VR as it is currently showcased a genuine hit. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how VR is perceived and marketed to the low-end market, not with six hundred-dollar sets that require a large room to work in. The core design needs come from inside the device, not set it outside of them. To add to that, modern high-end game market is extremely easy to get hyped up, as evident with No Man’s Sky, and easily jumps into whatever bandwagon the industry wants to push. That’s the key too in this whole thing; the industry wants to push something that the consumer actions have shown is not wanted. Steve Jobbs did say that Customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them only works if you have a cult of stupid behind you. Apple managed to make big bucks with solid white rechargeable batteries that their core fans hailed as the epitome of new design flavour.
3D failed and the only place where you can see 3D still being hyped is in the movie theatres, because they invested stupidly high amounts of money into getting 3D projectors. Home consumers didn’t care about 3D and the fad died. It will resurface again in the future, just like how VR is cyclical in that way.
Outside the whole technological and marketing standpoint, the human nature abhors VR to an extent. We’re social beings by nature, and VR is essentially secluding one from the world. One of the big reasons why the Wii was such a success is that it gathered people together to play.
Wii would like to play is the core concept of playing together. The Wii was the center of house parties
VR fights against the inclusion of others. But Aalt, don’t you always argue that games are about escapism? Yes, I do, and VR as it is now doesn’t seem to contain many games to emulate fantastic worlds like Ultima. WiiSports is an escape from reality, and you can do it with friends. Tabletop games and RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons are about the same exact thing, and you play those with your friends. Nobody plays D&D alone, I hope.
Thirdly, human body really just hates VR. We are too varied in nature to be confined into one type of controller. Most VR sets seem to forget that people tend to have difference in how good their vision is, and how easily our sight can change. Our eyes are much more delicate piece of hardware than our hands, which can take a stupid amount of abuse before they go haywire. Hell, we still have people fighting over what’s the best controller, when in reality there is no such thing. VR sticks to its guns and has not produced anything worthwhile.
Game business needs to remember that unlike most entertainment businesses, their products are consumed actively, not passively. Their aim should be to deliver to the consumer, not to themselves. Their model should surround themselves around consumer driven ideas, not self-centered navel gazing and circlejerking. Just like with food, we pay them to deliver stuff we want to consume, not the stuff they want to create. Let’s kick a dead horse a little bit more and remind ourselves how Other M ended up being when the creative forces were let free to do whatever the hell they wanted.
There is a silver bullet/s to make a successful game on a console platform, yet the companies ignore the history electronic gaming has in favour for their visions nobody asked for or even want outside idol worshippers. There is a reason why the term fandumb exists, and all of us are part of some. I know I keep saying the same thing over and over again in this blog, which is why I at one point slowed down on commenting game news, because the industry keeps repeating the same things without further considerations. VR is just one of the many things.