In the past, virtual reality gaming has been only in the realm of science fiction, and while it has been featured on many TV shows and movies, it has failed to gain traction in the real world. That is, until now.
Michael Abrash, an executive at Valve Software (the same people who brought us Steam) announced in an interview with the gaming magazine Rock Paper Shotgun that he believes the future of video gaming is in virtual reality, and that the time has never been more right to begin introducing it to consumers than it is now.
His reasoning behind this lies in a Kickstarter project that is recently getting a lot of attention, even from gaming heavyweights like John Carmack: the Oculus Rift. This helmet is “fully-immersive”, gamers who wear it will be in a completely virtual reality world, unlike the current systems of augmented reality produced by companies like Google in their Glass product.
What excites Abrash and other industry leaders and gaming fans more than the huge potential of virtual reality, though, is how it can open whole new doors to the industry. Games are no longer going to be limited to small screens that gamers look at and controllers that they have to use to make physical input, which means that game developers can let their creativity go wild when producing new games. Abrash did not want to mention specifics, but he said that he viewed the coming virtual reality products that are going to soon be on the market, including but not limited to the Oculus Rift, as akin to the smartphone gaming revolution or the beginnings of first person shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Abrash was, however, cautious about the new technology at the same time that he was excited. He said that besides all of the good things that can come out of the new technology, there are still many negatives as well, such as the many hardware, development and technical issues that surround the platform. He also was sure to make sure that people understood the difference between the technology in the Oculus Rift and the technology in other products like Google Glass. The latter only provides augmented reality, and has no virtual reality. That means that it is only possible to “draw” on what the person wearing the helmet or goggles already sees, but as far as removing items from the scene goes, that is impossible. Therefore, he finds virtual reality to be a better platform for gaming than augmented reality.
Whatever the future for gaming holds, it would be a very interesting development if it does include virtual reality technologies like the Oculus Rift. Obviously, the technology will have to be fleshed out a bit before it hits primetime, but this same transition had to happen with other types of technology that we now enjoy today, such as handheld games, smartphone games as apps and the motion controls that are currently found in all three major consoles.
Karla Versio enjoys writing about her favorite topics like tech stuff, gaming and new games like Diablo 3 gold farming techniques and other cool tips and tricks that she can dig up and share with the online community.