When talking about virtual reality in the gaming industry, it is crucial to understand its growth potential in the context of the global video game market.
According to Statista, revenue in the Games segment is projected to reach the US $188bn in 2022, with an estimation that the VR video game market will grow to nearly US $571bn by the middle of the decade.
This information alone shows us that the ground-breaking VR technologies are taking video games far from their humble beginnings (talking about you, Pac-Man!).
Today’s gaming has exceeded the boundaries of age and socioeconomic class to provide something for everyone. With such an enormous potential for brand exposure and customer loyalty, the video game industry is primed for virtual reality applications.
Many businesses are turning to virtual reality to offer new and immersive experiences. Others want to use VR to promote their games and brands. But the real question is how the use of virtual reality is changing the video game industry.
Taking the Gaming Industry into New Virtual Realms
Virtual reality generates experiences that give users the illusion of being physically present in a non-physical environment. A user utilizing virtual reality technology may “take a walk” through the artificial environment and interact with elements or things presented to their senses.
Unlike the flat-image experience that traditional video games provide, VR gives you a chance to experience an entirely 3D world with a range of different settings. We can already see various uses of VR in the enterprise, including medicine, film, and, of course, gaming.
When it comes to playing games, VR is changing the way individuals do so. The thrill of a VR encounter is heightened by the possibility that it will be more realistic than anything you’ve ever had before. Apart from twisting the understanding of reality itself, it gives users some fantastic benefits, such as:
- Allowing players to be physically active while still having fun with conventional games.
- Creating a global space for socialization with users connecting naturally, without having to share the exact same space.
- Changing the ways players interact with the game, using responsive hand controllers with in-game actions that imitate real-life actions, and immersing players in a full-body experience.
- Creating a world of vivid imagination while expanding the boundaries of traditional education and learning.
The Slow Burning Revolution
In theory, the implementation of virtual reality in the gaming industry sounds pretty straightforward. However, several barriers hold up its further expansion.
The first obstacle is the small community around it. Unlike smartphone games, which take up the most significant portion of users worldwide, research shows that amongst 169 million gamers worldwide, only 29 percent of them own a VR system.
Another challenge would be the production and development costs. The devices themselves tend to be quite expensive, and developers are obliged to invest heavily in content creation.
In fact, the Unity engine, a cross-platform game engine used to develop video games and simulations, gives a limited library of content, whilst obtaining new assets costs a lot.
Virtual reality has its problems, but they can be overcome. The technology itself will grow in popularity as it gets more user-friendly and inexpensive for consumers. Consequently, the market will develop even more, and the troubles of today will become a thing of the past.
Adapting to the Genres and Blurring the Lines Between Land-Based and Online Gaming
Even though we can still not play video games as big as Skyrim or Elder Scrolls on head-mounted devices, several big titles, such as Resident Evil 2 and Doom Eternal, have got their own VR mods—alterations of the program code of a video game in order to make it operate in a manner different from its original version.
Although not completely immersive and visually stunning as their flat-image versions, these modifications show us the potential of genres like first-person shooters, racing, and horror in virtual realms.
But one genre is already thriving in the sense of VR implementation, and that’s online casinos. Some online casino companies have recently begun to use VR technology to provide new and even more realistic gaming experiences to their users.
Some operators are adopting experience ideas that aim to stimulate players’ senses to the point where they feel as though they are in a genuine land-based casino.
VR casinos give you the unique feeling of interacting with other players, and you can move around the casino and between tables as you please. Therefore, the line between the real and virtual worlds is getting less clear.
The Future of Virtual Reality in Video Games
After announcing the Metaverse, a virtual reality where users can interact in a 3D virtual world, Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), said that all major video games in the future will be played in the Metaverse.
Whether or not this is true, it has the potential to completely change the idea of multiplayer games, letting players move around freely in a digital world and letting them interact with each other more.
With so many big corporations investing in the gaming industry, as well as VR, there is no debate that the future of gaming will take us to new realms. Will it go as far as making the whole population glued down to their head-mounted devices like in the movie “Ready Player One”? Probably not, considering its accessibility and cost.
However, just as keyboards and displays changed the way we communicate with computers, this new interface will change the way we think about engaging with people, as well as playing video games, even doing eye exercises. It might be something you carry about with you or something you wear invisibly.
Clearly, the growing importance of VR in our lives is being recognized. And one thing is for sure: these technologies will get better and more lifelike, giving us a new way to communicate and learn about the world.