As we all know, Virtual Reality is quickly becoming the future, as this is where the larger game companies have been moving over their man power. There was a Valve employee that estimated that roughly a third of Valve is working on VR and VR-related projects. I feel that this technology is quickly becoming one of the most popular game consoles. Or at least it will be eventually. With the hefty price tag of $800, the HTC Vive is no dollar store item. But this hasn’t stopped people from getting their hands on the technology anyways. As of just recently, the University of Advancing Technology has acquired one and made it available to the students to use. Only one evening was enough for me to gather these thoughts and come up with an idea of how this is going to go. Now obviously I’m not a Valve employee, nor can I see the future, so take everything I say with a bit of skepticism, just in case.
Just from playing some of the free games, such as The Lab, I have realized that this technology is something that can actually have incredible improvements to the industry as well as the world in general. The industry will have some profound effects, as I can see this bringing in a new surge of innovation as well as new talent, as there have been outside companies working on this sort of technology for a long time. I could see the Vive having other applications than just games, as we have already seen with Tiltbrush. For those who don’t know, Tiltbrush is a ‘game’ for the Vive that allows players to paint and draw in a Virtual Reality space. The brush isn’t affected by gravity either, so the possibilities are nearly endless with the amount of things you can do. This could lead to other programs that don’t necessarily have to be a game. With the newer releases of Unity and Unreal Engine 4, there are so many possibilities. There could be a way to physically create games inside of the virtual space, even if the game is not for a VR headset. We could also use other training programs for things like hardware installation, software integration, and even there could be some school projects outside of gaming, such as biology, astronomy, and even applied mathematics. You can find a link to a video of an artist using Tiltbrush to create some amazing pieces of art here. You can also find a link to a video highlighting some of the games currently available to the Vive here.
Now I wouldn’t want to exclude the game side of everything of course, and I believe that this technology would have and actually is having just as profound of an effect. There are already kickstarters for many different types of games with everything from survival games, to horror and adventure. Unfortunately, we have yet to see a AAA VR title, but this isn’t exactly surprising, as the technology has only come to the public eye quite recently. We can hope that in the future there will be a larger market for AAA VR games. We do know that there are some previous AAA titles that are being converted over to VR such as Fallout 4. There has been news that this port will be coming soon, with Bethesda saying that it will be released in the next year, putting a rough date on June 2017. Hopefully this will be one of the first stepping stones towards the emergence of AAA VR games.