Friday, February 3, 2017

VR seems doomed to failure after all

The one-year anniversary of the final version of the Oculus Rift is coming soon. Plenty of time for all those huge VR games to have been developed and published (especially given that Oculus Rift development kits had existed for three years prior to the final launch).

So, where are all those games?

When the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive were published, pretty much everybody was enormously excited about them and praising them to the heavens, and predicting an entire new industry revolving around VR. Everything you could possibly imagine would become possible in VR. It would revolutionize the entire gaming industry. Old-fashioned games would become pretty much obsolete. Criticism was largely ignored and ridiculed by early adopters and fanboys, sometimes even to rather verbally aggressive extents.

So, almost a year has passed of the glorious VR generation. Where are all those games?

There are like a couple of games that you could barely call "triple-A". By far the vast majority of games available for them are tech demos and small indie games (most of which look like absolute crap, as I have previously commented here and here.) The big-name games just aren't there. The closest thing you have is optional VR headset support in some vehicle simulators and driving games (which could arguably be considered "triple-A" titles.)

Sales figures of the headsets themselves are absolutely abysmal. Just a few months after launch, after all the early adopters got their devices, adoption rates pretty much halted for both of the systems. And they were really abysmal to begin with. (The current estimate of adoption rates of the HTC Vive among all Steam users is about 0.18%, and for the Oculus rift 0.1%.)

As I have commented many, many times before, this isn't surprising in the least. The adoption rates would probably be abysmal even if the headsets costed $400. However, at $700-900, just forget about it. The fact that HTC, Valve and Oculus thought that they could sell the headsets at those exorbitant prices is just mind-bogglingly stupid. And the stupidest part of all this? Their prices haven't dropped a cent. Yeah, good luck selling them, dumbasses.

I'm not the only one who saw this happening, and is increasingly seeing it.

Just a few months after the headsets were published, people started seeing the warning signs, like for example reported in this video: VR failing already?

The PlayStation VR promised hope, though. It was more affordable, and it worked on existing hardware (namely the PlayStation 4) rather than requiring you to do expensive upgrades to your system. Relatively large amounts of triple-A titles for PSVR were promised and announced.

The PSVR has been out only for a couple of months, so it's too early to say. However, many people are already seeing the same warning signs: Relatively poor adoption rates (regardless of a rather large amount of early adopters), lack of real triple-A titles, announced titles with PSVR support being quietly dropped one after another...

PlayStation VR failing?

VR gaming is dead on arrival. (A more lighter-toned video on the subject, but they make good valid points.)

Why I sold my PlayStation VR. (Just the author's personal anecdote and opinion, but he is not alone in those sentiments.)

Why I'm losing faith in PlayStation VR.

You might ask why I'm writing about all this. Am I ridiculing VR and laughing at it? Is the tone of this post gleeful?

No, absolutely not. I'm writing this because I'm disappointed and frustrated. I wanted VR to succeed. I wanted to experience my all-time favorite games, and new games, in VR. I have been anxiously waiting to experience VR for about four years now.

But it seems that it isn't going to happen. I'm not going to buy an overly expensive toy with only a handful of tech demos and indie games for it, to collect dust on a shelf. I'm just not willing to spend that amount of money for a gimmick with little to no use.

And the ones to blame are those idiotic dumbasses at HTC and Oculus. They screwed it up royally. They could have made it work, but no. They didn't.

Sure, maybe VR will eventually recover in the future, in 5 to 10 years or so, with more affordable headsets and better third-party support, and perhaps the library of triple-A games will increase. Maybe. However, so far it's not looking very good.

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