Despite the best efforts of PlayStation and Oculus, VR gaming is still not mainstream. A combination of high entry pricing, odd games lineups and a lack of widespread attention has led to Virtual Reality occupying a niche space for console and PC gamers. In a recent interview, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan confirmed as much, but he indicated Sony wasn’t quite ready to give up on VR gaming yet.
“PlayStation believes in VR,” Ryan told The Washington Post. “Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that.”
PlayStation is currently the only mainstream gaming console which offers a companion VR headset in the PSVR for PlayStation 4. Despite the mild popularity of the PSVR, a next gen VR device designed solely for the upcoming PlayStation 5 doesn’t appear to be on the cards for now. Existing PSVR users are able to grab an adaptor to use their system on PS5, with no news on an updated model thus far.
Still, even the existence of the PSVR is a positive step in the right direction for VR gaming. It’s an area that desperately needs more attention to become a viable form of entertainment in the future.
While VR gaming is more accessible than ever (prices bob around the $400 mark), the systems are still plagued by issues which prevent people from experiencing the full joys of VR. Motion sickness is still a core (and often unavoidable) feature of modern VR, and systems like the Oculus Quest are also dealing with their own issues to do with Facebook log-in. In addition to these teething issues, VR faces a severe lack of early adopters and popular buzz. Many of the games produced for VR headsets are too niche or ‘experimental’ to warrant mainstream attention, and there’s a pervasive attitude that VR simply isn’t ready for a grander stage.
There are still issues to work out with mainstream VR systems. Games need to be developed with wider appeal. There’s certainly work to be done in the VR gaming space, but VR is slowly getting itself to where it needs to be.
Iteration is a slow process, and the development of new VR devices like the Oculus Quest 2 is promising. Yes, there are hurdles to overcome, like creating a more stable VR environment and building out the library of VR games. As Ryan predicts, the future of mainstream VR gaming may not be for another few years yet but it is coming, and it’s set to be great.
VR has the potential to be an impressive technology, with intriguing potential across the gaming and interactive media space. While we won’t see the benefits of VR for several years to come, it’s a future we can look forward to.