Remember when gaming was new? How about when graphics became 3D? Or maybe you’ll recall older controllers having quite a few less buttons than our currently recognized console control schemes. We’ve gone through many evolutions in gaming. The first forays into new video game technology have rarely been met with incredible successes. It’s through the introduction, refinement, and perfection of that technology that we get truly amazing experiences.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again and again and again. Virtual Reality (VR) must be experienced to be understood. Someone can tell you everything you want to know about virtual reality, but there’s nothing like putting a headset and moving your head to look at another world around you. I truly believe it is the next generation of immersion not only in games, but as a way to experience many things.
From Humble Beginnings
There are still some technological hurdles to overcome, and we’re not going to get picture perfect Matrix styled experiences right out of the gate. But think about the early days of gaming. The introduction of polygonal character models and environments was rocky at the start, but developers pressed forward. How about when games started to have more regular voice acting? Once upon a time, controllers didn’t have thumbsticks, but those were added along with many other buttons for an extra layer of input. Those things weren’t perfect right away. In fact, we’re still working on the implementation of those things, with some games doing it better — or even just doing it differently — than others.
That’s what VR looks like to me. There are going to be some bad experiences. There are going to be awful stage demos. But there are some great things making their way to the VR platform as well, and as the userbase and support grows, the experiences are only bound to get better. VR is a whole new way to immerse ourselves in a world, whether it’s a simple puzzle game, a psychological experience, or something else entirely.
PSX 2015 gave Stephen Bitto and me the opportunity to get our hands on and heads in a few PlayStation VR headsets, and here are our thoughts on the experiences.
PlayStation VR: The Future of Immersion is Now
I didn’t include Media Molecule’s Dreams in that slideshow because I didn’t actually get to see it in action in VR, but it should be important to remember that PlayStation VR support has been announced for it, and with the incredible amount of creative freedom that it will give players, it ought to be noted that it’s a VR compatible experience.
PlayStation VR and virtual reality in general are still young. We’ve got a long way to go, but remember that some of the awesome things we have in the world now were built on the shoulders of the things that came before. Technology is moving at an incredible clip, and it’s only a matter of time before we get some truly incredible and unique experiences to immerse ourselves in VR. From the demos that I’ve seen already, we’re off to a pretty good start.