6 Reasons Why VR Headsets Will Change Gaming

virtual reality gaming
Looks appropriately futuristic.

Virtual Reality Gaming Is Right Around the Corner.

With the release of the first commercially available virtual reality headsets just around the corner, we started thinking about what impact virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift or the Sony Morpheus may have on the gaming industry. Here are some reasons we think VR headsets will change gaming for the better:

6. Immersion

Still aren’t convinced VR headsets don’t improve immersion? Check this out:

 

‘Oh, Russians. Never change.’

You can find hours of quality entertainment just watching people’s reactions to virtual reality roller coasters on YouTube. You may know in the back of your mind you’re not moving, but when you do a barrel roll in that roller coaster simulator you really feel like you’re moving. VR headsets have the potential to achieve a level of immersion that just cannot be matched by a monitor.

5. Portable Virtual Reality

Some VR headsets such as the Sulon Cortex can save content and stream it from the cloud. Cloud gaming services like Nvidia Grid already allow gamers to play without a console. With such services, gamers can stream to PCs, tablets, smartphones, or TVs, and soon we may be able to stream to a VR headset, too.

If that happens, then playing a VR game while you’re stuck at the airport might be something you can do in the near future. Just don’t get carried away and clobber the little old lady while you’re in the middle of fighting that dragon.

‘Good job. You just killed Betty White.’

Of course, not all VR headsets are designed with portability in mind. The HTC Vive requires you to install a few sensors up high in the room so that it can track your movements properly which might be hard to do waiting for a flight at the airport. Feel free to try it though.

‘Seriously though, don’t try it.’

There are already portable VR options out there that use simple headsets that combine with your smartphone to form a VR headset. Just be sure to bring your phone charger because, unsurprisingly, VR apps are a big drain on your battery.

4. Environment Mapping

Some VR manufacturers clearly plan on their headsets having the ability to map the environment around them at some point. That means your VR headset could turn your living room into a dungeon or a battlefield. Going full virtual reality without having to worry about tripping over your coffee table and cracking your head off the TV stand is a definite plus.

‘Luckily people have two brains.’

Some of the most interesting use of environment mapping is being explored by Microsoft’s augmented reality headset called HoloLens which enhances the wearer’s surrounding environment rather than replacing it. With augmented reality headsets, you could someday play virtual board games on your coffee table or a game of Tetris using the tiles on your bathroom floor.

‘I want to see LeVar Burton wearing these.’

Just recently Microsoft announced that Minecraft is officially coming to the HoloLens. Players can build stuff on their coffee tables or hang a virtual picture on their wall. Although it might be a bit distressing to turn around and see a human-sized creeper coming for you.

‘That’s a castle!’

3. Competition (The Economic Kind)

That’s right: Competition. People who haven’t been paying attention to the virtual reality scene might not be aware that the Oculus Rift isn’t the only game in town anymore. Some options now include the Sony Morpheus which will be compatible with the PlayStation 4, the HTC Vive, and the Razer OSVR – a completely open source headset – to name a few.

Got a smartphone, but strapped for cash? Check out the Google Cardboard. I’m not joking.

‘Told you.’

Google Cardboard’s website has downloadable directions so that you can make your own Google Cardboard headset for next to nothing. Granted, it won’t be the best VR experience, but it does work. Even better, there are already a bunch of neat apps that support Google Cardboard.

All these different companies competing is good news for gamers. Though we’re still a little ways from seeing what features are going to make the final cut while the big tech companies duke it out to grab customers. Sony will undoubtedly start with a leg up on the competition since their headset will be compatible with the PS4.

‘We’ll see if Sony’s decision not to use cardboard pays off.’

It could be that the VR thing is just a fad, but considering the number of people who are willing to shell out $300 dollars for a headset, we’re willing to bet that people would be willing to pay at least that much for a VR headset. Incidentally, according to rumors and speculation on Reddit and around the web, the Morpheus will have a price tag of about $300, but don’t quote us on it.

Sony probably plans to get a lot of its headsets sold by way of bundling them with PlayStation 4s and the final price is still up for speculation. Sony could also decide to subsidize the cost of the Morpheus to drive down the cost and boost game sales.

2. Better Controls

How many times have you died in a game because you hit the wrong button or couldn’t remember if you mapped something to this key or that key? VR headsets are already showing the potential to give gamers a more intuitive way to play. Oculus has prototype controllers called the Oculus Touch that show some promise.

’Good luck figuring out what he’s doing.’

But what’s got us really excited are the controllers for the HTC Vive. The Vive headset is the culmination of a partnership between HTC and Valve. The Vive’s controllers reflect Valve’s preference for using their distinctive haptic feedback pads which you can see in Valve’s upcoming Steam Controller design.

‘Imagine this, only split into two sticks, and you’ve basically got the Vive’s controllers.’

The HTC Vive’s controllers look like the top contender right now. The Vive’s controllers are designed to be recognized by the headset so when the wearer glances down, they will actually see two guns in their hands (or whatever they’re holding) which will follow their smallest movement. Racing games will be more enjoyable too since players will be driving from a more natural position with the ability to look over your shoulder, check your mirrors, and more accurately judge speed for enhanced situational awareness.

1. Competition (The Fun Kind)

With VR headsets, every shot players take in a video game will rely more on skill than ever. Is it better to rush around the next corner spraying bullets or go more slowly and place your shots with care? With no more crosshairs to aid players, firing from the hip is probably going to be much harder than it used to be.

It also means that every kill is yours alone. It won’t be limited to just guns either. Firing a bow and arrow or running down an enemy and killing them with an old, rusty axe with your VR controllers will only further enhance your immersion.

‘You can finally experience what it’s like to be a brutal serial killer again.’

Upcoming Titles to Look Out For:
Eve: Valkyrie

 

 

‘Looks a bit better than Galaga.’

This multiplayer dogfighting shooter is set in the Eve universe and boasts full VR headset integration. The game is set to release on both PC and the PlayStation 4. Other than that, not much is known about the title, but from what we’ve seen we’re pumped to get our hands on it.

Robinson: The Journey

‘Dinosaurs and futuristic ruins? Take my money.’

Not much is known about this game other than you will be assuming the role of a young boy who has crash-landed on a mysterious planet. The game is being developed by Crytek, the same people who brought us Crysis, so we’re already pretty sure it’s going to be gorgeous.

London Heist: Getaway

‘He might look tough, but really he’s just terrible at shaving.’

London Heist: Getaway is an upcoming title for the Sony Morpheus. It’s an on-rails shooter and it is the player’s job is to kill waves of baddies in bikes and cars trying to stop your escape. On-rails shooters haven’t been popular for a while, but with VR headsets the genre actually looks to show some promise.

Are you excited about VR gaming? Tell us so in the comments below! Then be sure to check out some of our other great articles:

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