OPINION: Virtual reality won’t be the future of gaming

FEB 16, 2022

In 2013 I was scrolling through YouTube and saw a video of one of my favorite Youtubers talking about a piece of technology I hadn’t heard of before. It was a very early model of a virtual reality (VR) headset. This was a device that you would put on your head, and you would be in your own theater where you could watch movies or play video games. The issue was, at this time, there was no widely available content made specifically for VR. It was created to be on a flat screen, then put into VR. Since then, we have seen immense improvements to the technology. With systems like the Meta Quest and the Valve Index, VR has become more mainstream than ever. This has led VR enthusiast to wonder what the future of VR is, and if it will ever overtake traditional gaming as the main medium for playing video games.

I don’t think VR will do this. I have multiple VR headsets and have used VR for over four years, and I really like VR, but I can’t see VR taking over traditional gaming. There are somethings that you can do on traditional gaming when you are using a normal controller and sitting in front of a TV that you can’t do when using VR. There are also some games that just work better in a traditional game sense. A VR basketball game would be fun, but it would have the same feel as 2K’s NBA series.

On the flip side of this there are things that you can do in VR that just aren’t possible in traditional gaming. A game like “Beat Saber” isn’t possible outside of VR. “Beat Saber” is a rhythm game where you pick a song and blocks will come at you and you have to use a lightsaber to cut them in a certain direction. Rhythm games are popular in traditional gaming, but a rhythm game like that wouldn’t be possible outside of VR. However, there are more gameplay mechanics that you can do in traditional gaming but not VR than vice versa.

VR also isn’t as accessible as traditional gaming. VR is a very physical medium for gaming. Games like the aforementioned “Beat Saber” and “Boneworks” are both very physical games. This also provides limitation to some people. People that are dealing with certain disabilities aren’t able to play a lot of VR games. This eliminates a group of the population that are able to play traditional games but aren’t able to use VR. In the future it’s possible we start to see neuro-link technology that allows these people to access VR, but that would be in the far future, and isn’t a practical possibility right now or anytime soon.

VR is going to continue to grow, and I think that it will become more mainstream, but I don’t see it making that leap of taking over traditional gaming as the main medium. VR is growing at a rapid pace, and we will see massive technological improvements over the next five to 10 years, and even though it won’t become the main form of gaming, I am excited to see where it goes.

Mark Warren can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @MarkWarren1832?

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