VR’s Place in the Digital Realm – Not a Killer: A Peripheral

It’s safe to say that the hype over VR headsets being the console/handheld/pc/anything killer has finally died.

The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are still alive and kicking, with both now effectively into their second generation of hardware, but both at a place in the games industry than many would have thought simply impossible merely years ago.

Let’s face the music folks, VR a peripheral.

Before you scramble to pick up your pitchforks, let us be the first to tell you that we are not utilizing the term “peripheral” in a disparaging fashion.

What we mean is that a VR headset fits perfectly into the definition of an ancillary peripheral device: they enhance the immersion factor of any given game but does not usurp the position of the primary content-delivery device – regardless whether that be a home console or a desktop computer.

Although participating developers ran headfirst into the hypemania that would see them pitted against one another to prove just how revolutionary VR is, their efforts thus far have proven worthwhile in showing how well an experience can be tailor-made for the headsets, but how lacking in efficacy translating previously-built experiences carries over to the new platform.

Two excellent examples of this are Beat Saber and DOOM.

On the side of Beat Saber we have an experience catering to VR users in one of the most engaging ways possible: through rhythm and music. This, coupled with the fact that the player is not required to make any sort of movement through a virtual space – the musical blocks simply fly toward you.

DOOM, on the other hand, feels like a VR demo of the real thing. The game is more-or-less identical to the original version released in 2016, except for the fact that you can’t walk across the ground.

Yep. You read it right. In the VR version of DOOM, you can’t ambulate.

What you can do, instead, is teleport yourself to your choice location by placing a reticle on the ground, and then spin yourself around 360 degrees until you’ve cleared out your new spot of the presence from any baddies that threaten to rip and tear you in twain.

Without beating a dead horse, let us be candid: if playing DOOM without the movement is your idea of platform-killing technology, we’ve got some bad news for you.

Despite falling far short of the ridiculously blown up expectations that people set for it, VR Headsets are undoubtedly here to stay.

As the price of the hardware continues to fall and the tech finds its way into more and more homes, studios will begin to allocate substantial resources to the development VR portions of games that ship with console exclusives and publisher staples.

Until then, we’ll just have to settle for experiences like Job Simulator and Beat Saber – which, if we’re being honest, scratch an itch that no other piece of software can. When you’re in the mood, that is.

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