17:46 29 January 2018
Sure, the prospect of wearing an absurd headset and living out an imaginary second life was exciting, but no one considered it feasible. And yet here we are: we now live in a time where virtual reality isn’t just commonplace, but the first Oscar award was granted for a VR film.
Beyond the silver screen, virtual reality is expected to become a literal game-changer for console and online video games. More than 12 million VR headsets are projected to be sold by the end of 2017, altering the landscape in which we consume and explore digital content.
Here’s how virtual reality will change the way we game forever.
Part of the reason why virtual reality is here to stay is the affordability of each VR device. Not only is VR entering a mainstream price point, but there’s healthy competition among major VR developers. The most prominent game developers are getting in on the ground floor as well, a good sign for anyone investing in a VR device as it means there’s a strong market belief in the profitability of VR.
If you’re looking to jump into VR, there are plenty of affordable options to get started.
For smartphones, Google and Samsung provide an affordable platform to jump into VR experiences. Oculus Rift (Facebook), HTC Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR give PC and console players a way to access VR content.
Why is virtual reality so attractive? Perhaps because it acts as an extension to the pastimes we currently enjoy. If MMOs and open world games provide a sense of escapism, then virtual reality provides a seamless immersion into these environments. Rather than hold a controller and look at a screen, players can use body movements and hand gestures to interact with objects in a fully-realised virtual setting.
Not only are modern video games being adapted for VR, such as Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and the popular Final Fantasy series, but video game designers are introducing us to entirely new experiences that only VR is capable of delivering.
Imagine walking into a virtual casino with hundreds of other real-life players. Yesterday your avatar was an accurate representation of yourself, but today you’re feeling a bit bold; you decide to appear as James Bond instead (Sean Connery, of course). You settle down for a couple of games of baccarat, and before you know it, an audience of real people has formed around you. The other players at the table are thousands of miles away, and yet close enough for you to touch.
For example, many of live games offered by European newest online casinos already today can be adapted to virtual reality. Right now, you can play blackjack, Texas hold ’em, roulette and more with real dealers and participants—all from the comfort of your home.
Soon, these games will come to life within a virtual environment. You will easily move from one table to the next within an online casino. You’ll be able to interact with friends and family, lounge in a private casino room, or enjoy the thrills of a virtual competition, complete with real professional players.
Another form of gaming that is exclusive to virtual reality is called “asynchronous gameplay.” This describes a type of game in which each player has information the other doesn’t. Each player needs to collaborate in order to solve an objective.
This is evident in the VR game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The game starts with one player “trapped” in a virtual room with a bomb that needs to be defused. Other players can’t see the bomb, and they need to decipher/deliver information to help the trapped player defuse the bomb.
Less stressful but equally entertaining are massive multiplayer online (MMO) games such as Destiny 2, World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14, all of which are appealing because players can unite with friends, create clans, and even purchase and decorate virtual homes and environments. World of Warcraft has continued to maintain a healthy 5 million player subscription base since it launched in 2005!
For some, the competitive and social nature of online games is why titles such as World of Warcraft have endured for over a decade. For others, diving into a virtual room to play a board game with friends and family will shape the way we look at virtual experiences.
We’re about to enter a golden age for virtual reality gaming, gambling and socialising. As more people adopt the technology and more developers enter the market, online gaming will dramatically shift in favour of this novel experience.
Grab a VR device today and begin an exciting adventure in online gaming!