What Virtual Reality Could Mean for Gaming

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With virtual reality rapidly becoming the “it” topic to discuss in both tech and gaming, it’s only appropriate to think about the impact of VR on gaming as we know it and what it could mean for our favorite pastime. Of course, we’ve seen some previews of what developers have in store, but what about when these games become properly available for all to boot up and, hopefully, enjoy? Of course, the outcome of all this depends on how the general public receives VR in the gaming realm and whether or not people decide to spend money on it. However, it’s still worth thinking about what this piece of tech could do for gaming on multiple levels, from the best Xbox titles to casual/old-school games.

In dreaming up images of which games on the 360 and Xbox One would be best for virtual reality, it’s difficult to think of anything else but first-person shooters and MMORPGs, especially those with a strong narrative. With that in mind, one title quick sprang to mind: Bioshock Infinite. If you read our review of this game or played it for yourself, then you are certainly aware of just how utterly fantastic it is. If not, you have two options:

  • Find a way to play it immediately, because it’s probably better than whatever game is sitting in your console. Seriously.
  • Read through the compelling arguments being made for why it’s the best game of this generation.

Now, that all being said, can you imagine a game like this being play in virtual reality? Of course, it almost goes without saying that properly executing a game such as Bioshock Infinite in VR is probably impossible at this point. However, if it could be pulled off, can you imagine how many people would scoop up the Oculus Rift or Morpheus? The things would fly off the shelves faster than Tickle Me Elmo or whichever toy is popular with the youngsters these days.

The same could be said if, somehow, the phenomenal Elder Scrolls Online—yes, we reviewed this one too—made its way to a VR device. Some tech writers have opined that Sony and Microsoft are likely getting ready to shell out big money to translate their best titles to the land of virtual reality. Whether or not this happens is anyone’s guess, but the power of these devices is apparently there in terms of handling current generation games.

When it comes to the more casual games mentioned earlier, there’s really nothing that VR tech shouldn’t be able to accomplish. And in some cases, that’s happened, such as with the virtual casino title released for the Oculus Rift in summer 2014. In this game, the player can virtually play all the typical casino offerings like slots and blackjack. As intriguing as that sounds, it all happens in a “virtual” setting that can’t capture the feeling of playing against an actual human dealer. Sure enough, that technology already exists, with offerings like Texas Hold’em and roulette available for gamers who want the Las Vegas experience without having to actually travel there. Now just imagine being able to do that while wearing an Oculus headset and interacting with other players and dealers (with projected, life-like imagery, of course)?

And if that type of setup was possible, let’s take it one step further for consoles: transform the emulation approach of backwards compatibility and make it exist in VR. In other words, make it so you have to “walk” to a different room or area in your Xbox Live dashboard to fire up an original Xbox or 360 so you can play those games (that are then instantly brought to the forefront of your headset). Are we getting carried away? OK, we are absolutely getting a bit carried away—a virtual arcade just sounds so awesome—but it’s tough not going above and beyond with your hopes for VR when the technology is advancing so rapidly.