Virtual reality (VR) has transformed many of our industries. In retail, for instance, brands are using VR to replicate physical experiences no matter where a customer is located. Meanwhile, the HR and education sectors are using it to conduct classes and training sessions. On top of this, there is one industry where VR is undeniably most prominent – gaming. In fact, the mass production of VR systems started as early as the ’90s — and it was all for Virtuality, which was a line of VR gaming machines.
Indeed, VR is most commonly known for elevating the gaming experience and immersing players in an almost believable illusory environment. To deepen our understanding of VR, let’s discuss how it has transformed different sectors in the gaming industry.
One of the most popular VR headsets today is the Oculus Rift. Since its release in 2016, the Oculus Rift disrupted the world of console gaming, as it allowed gamers to play titles from popular developers such as Square Enix and Harmonix in a virtual environment. However, most gamers weren’t convinced by the Oculus Rift and its competitors like the HTC Vive. This is because it became too complicated and they needed lots of accessories to function, such as a buffed-up PC and a base station. Even the PlayStation VR failed to achieve its predicted success, as the graphics didn’t come out as crisp and smooth compared to its PC counterparts — despite being more accessible and affordable.
It wasn’t until the release of the Oculus Go in 2018 when gamers got to experience a superb and untethered VR gaming experience. In the future, we’ll see more standalone VR consoles enter the market, as revolutionary companies like Oculus and HTC work on their next line of standalone VR headsets that are on par with those that are PC-powered.
During the lockdowns last year, the gambling industry was forced to channel its efforts into online gaming. In line with this, many online gambling sites started seeing higher engagement rates than ever before. And to attract even more players and bettors, some platforms even launched VR casinos, which give players the real-life gaming experience that they weren’t able to access due to the pandemic. As long as players have a VR headset and a compatible platform, they can immerse themselves in an interactive casino that’s comparable to the experience a traditional casino provides.
The VR casino experience is also a way to appeal to newcomers. Take poker for example. Thousands of players out there have already been enjoying poker titles on VR, such as PokerStars on the Oculus Quest 2. It’s a good way to breathe new life into a game that’s been around for years. And while it can still seem a bit complex to complete newbies, there are several beginners’ guides to online poker that break down everything — from the rules of the game and the various terms to the types of poker and where to practice without using real money. Such resources can help players make the most of their poker games, whether they’re playing on VR or not. As VR casinos become more widely accessible, more people can enjoy a realistic casino experience.
Today’s mobile devices are incredibly powerful. In fact, the smartphone you have today is considerably more powerful than the computers used to guide the Apollo 11 mission. As phones continue to come out with increasingly powerful features every year, it’s no surprise that smartphone brands have also tried adopting their own kind of VR tech.
Tech giants Samsung and Google both previously developed their own line of VR systems that were compatible with their mobile offerings. This led to the rise of mobile VR headsets, where you could insert your phone and experience a new gaming reality. Need for Speed: No Limits and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes were just two of the many titles that most people enjoyed on their mobile VR systems.
However, its popularity was short-lived. The limited hardware of mobile devices makes the mobile experience significantly less thrilling and engaging — especially compared to those provided by dedicated VR headsets from Vive, Oculus, and Sony. For this reason, mobile VR gaming remains at a standstill. Even Google has abandoned its mobile VR projects, Daydream and Cardboard. In addition, Samsung’s Gear VR hasn’t had an update since the Galaxy S9.
Although you can still play old VR gaming titles using a compatible phone and substandard shell headset, you won’t find any software ecosystem and support for mobile VR as of now. However, many are still hopeful that mobile VR in the gaming industry will eventually make a comeback. After all, it makes VR accessible for anyone who owns a mobile device.
VR truly is the new frontier in gaming and players are increasingly getting excited with every new release and update. If you’re interested in learning more about the current state of VR tech, be sure to check our other posts on The Tech Trend.