Virtual reality gaming has come a very long way in just a couple years. That’s not to say it wasn’t developing long before that, but VR gaming has essentially been a consumer option for about two years, and in that short span a lot has changed. We’ve gone from being fascinated by the mere concept to seeing, expecting, and demanding sophisticated games that fully immerse us in false realities. In some ways, the technology and the games are still far from perfect though, and there are some ways that this whole category can still improve markedly.
Headsets Can Work Independently
One of the things that’s holding VR back at least among some consumers is that headsets are not standalone gaming devices. They’re not consoles in and of themselves. Rather, they require a connection to a PC or a high-end console (or, on the cheaper end, a smartphone) to work. This might be changing in the very near future however. Lenovo and Google in particular have made headlines by introducing the first standalone headset and it’s a beauty. Built with 64GB of storage, it’s more similar to smartphone VR than, say, the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. But it’s certainly a start at VR headsets becoming freer and easier to use.
Small Games Can Move To Big Environments
We tend to focus on types of games and environments we see in VR, but not always how they intersect. What could really give a lot of smaller and simpler VR games a lift, however, is if more attention is put into making the surroundings interesting. The idea to set poker and roulette tables underwater or on the moon caught my eye in a piece about how VR can change gaming industries, and this speaks to the general idea. From putt-putt golf, to target shooting, to card and strategy games, there are plenty of VR experiences that could work in just about any type of setting. Developers should focus on putting big environments around these smaller games to make them more interesting.
Major Franchises Can Come Along
Let’s just say the VR category is still lacking major franchise titles. This has begun to change, most notably through the emergence of Fallout VR. But we still haven’t reached a point at which major gaming franchises have fully launched themselves into virtual reality. There are countless titles, from Mario Kart to Call Of Duty, that gamers around the world would be absolutely thrilled to see in VR. So while new games and new companies are always excited, one could imagine that if and when names like these make it to the category, they’ll bring a lot of players along with them.
Treadmills Can Get Better (and More Affordable)
If you’re interested in VR and you haven’t heard of the Virtuix Omni, you probably will. It was basically the first major treadmill to be built specifically for VR integration, and it got a fair bit of publicity when its founders were featured on the entrepreneurism show Shark Tank. It’s actually been around for years, and in 2016 a review at Tech Crunch noted that there’s a long way to go before it’s ready for the average consumer. Plus, it’s expensive. But now that the Virtuix Omni is a known piece of equipment, and other companies are working on similar sorts of things, we should see VR treadmills getting better, more affordable and enabling better games as they go.