The virtual reality gaming market is expected to reach a worth of $2.4 billion by next year, more than double its estimated value in 2020. VR is revolutionizing the gaming industry and bringing a whole new level of immersion and engagement to the gaming experience.
What is virtual reality?
Put simply, virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional computer generated environment. An individual can use VR equipment to immerse themselves within this generated world and interact with and manipulate the objects or perform activities within it.
There are a huge range of applications for this emerging technology, from healthcare and architecture to sport and the arts. However, one industry that has been at the forefront of VRs development is gaming.
Early research into VR gaming began in the 1980s, with the development of the data glove. Although this didn’t go far due to cost and complexity, Nintendo developed their power glove soon after.
Following the success of the glove, the very first virtual reality headset was born in 1995. Virtual Boy used LEDs and 3D lenses and paved the way for early VR games like Virtual IO, Bad Street Brawler, SEGA VR-1 and CyberMaxxx.
2016 marked a significant swift in VR gaming technology with the release of the Oculus Rift CV 1 headset. Since then more advanced headsets have followed, including the Samsung Gear VR, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Quest.
There are now virtual reality games in all genres
You can now visit a casino and play a virtual game of poker with a VR headset. Texas holdem poker is an incredibly popular casino game and can be found online and in VR.
Shooter games are some of the most popular VR titles, with Half-Life: Alyx, Boneworks, Superhot VR and Pistol Whip being favorites amongst VR fans.
Furthermore, puzzle games have been adapted to fit the world of VR and players really enjoy the interactivity in the experience. Angry Birds VR and Cubism are great examples, while games like Please, Don’t Touch Anything and A Rogue Escape are ideal for hardcore puzzlers.
Recently, there has been a growing interest in the development of virtual reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Games or VRMMORPGs. In these games, players would be able to explore multifaceted worlds and interact with other players in real-time.
The player would enter the world with their VR headset. While at present there are games that link two or more VR players in a single setting, virtual reality MMORPGs would bring hundreds, or even thousands, of players together in a 3D computer generated world.
What are the benefits of virtual reality in gaming?
One of the biggest benefits of VR is that it creates a truly realistic experience, so realistic that it can be a little disorientating when you first put on a headset and begin to move around the virtual space. It is far more immersive when compared to playing on a PC monitor or smartphone screen.
Another benefit is that VR games get you moving around and staying active. You may move your arms around and walk around the room with your headset on rather than sitting on a chair with a controller, meaning it’s important to clear a safe space around the player. This aspect of the experience is great for your physical health and can help burn calories.
The VR experience can also be a form of escapism due to how immersive it is, which can be helpful in distracting players from the everyday stresses they face. Virtual reality is sometimes even used in pain treatments and therapies for this reason.
What does the future hold for VR?
Virtual reality games are still a bit of a niche product. While more VR headsets have come to the market in recent years, they are not yet at a price point that attracts all video gamers to give VR a try.
There is huge potential for VR games and the concept of creating online worlds where large groups of players can interact with one another in a virtual experience is enticing for many gamers.
As both VR hardware and the software that supports it continues to be advanced by video game developers, this is an exciting time for gamers and the future possibilities of VRs application in gaming are endless.