The Future of VR Social Gaming
The first few years of any new major technological release are always interesting. The world starts to get on board, popular media starts getting involved, and best of all, in our opinion, it draws in fresh minds willing to open the technology to its true potential. This is where we find ourselves when it comes to the current state of VR – the base tech is there, but it’s still young, and we’re still figuring out what we can do. One of the many interesting ways in which this is adopted is in the realm of social gaming via the internet. As one of the newer developments in gaming by itself, we have to wonder about how these concepts will combine, and what we might see in the future.
(CC BY 2.0) by pestoverde
As it Stands
The first few steps in VR social gaming have boldly gone where no one has gone before, and we aren’t just talking about the Star Trek VR game. More social games, like the simply-named VRChat available on Steam, have started in their first steps in discovering what users want, and what the tech might eventually provide. So far, these game and social rooms are simple, but that in no way diminishes their fun or the effect which they have on us. Custom build your own avatar, hang out with friends, and jump into a game or two while you mess around. Combine the fun of a digital playground, costume party, and hanging out with friends who might sit on the other side of the world. Nobody said first steps had to be small.
So far, the games which have embraced this type of VR social style have been those which already have a strong social bend. These are those games which rely heavily on chat, or a single immersive environment which does not necessitate movement and the associated motion sickness. This is why chat programs, simple VR games like the mentioned Star Trek, and online casinos are so often the best first choices – they just happen to have fallen into the perfect fit. In fact, the latter were at the forefront of VR innovation, with Microgaming’s VR roulette winning a Digital Gaming Innovation Award as early as 2015.
As it Might Be
While we can’t know for sure what the future of social VR gaming will bring, we can make some educated guesses based on current trends and improving technology. First off, the growing library of games and programs, combined with lowering costs of these devices will inevitably boost the numbers to far higher levels than we see now. We can already see some of these next-gen devices in development today, with products like the Oculus Go working as high-quality VR sets without the need for expensive support PCs or consoles.
Secondly, we can expect a far wider range of uses and the opening of possibilities for the software which is developed for these systems. While there has been some software that has been very popular for VR devices, we are yet to see the level of public fascination like we saw with AR and Pokemon Go. History has shown us time and again that one huge hit is enough to create a tidal wave of attention, and with more and more developers rushing to create this wave, we have to brace ourselves for its inevitable arrival.
Better resolution, less lag, higher accuracy, less motion sickness, there are many ways in which even minor improvements bring considerable advantages to VR devices and their users. Social media engagement has become an inseparable part of many of our modern lives, and as VR technology similarly wanders into the limelight we look on with excitement to see what future developments might bring. Where do you see VR social gaming going?