It wouldn’t be a far fetched guess that you’re here to find out more about the recent hype over VR in general, and developments in VR games in particular. The release of a number of headsets throughout 2016 has resulted in an explosion of interest in VR content. Games in particular sit at the top of the tree.
So you want to know what it’s all about?
Be careful. Once you’ve experienced high quality game-play in virtual reality there may be no going back. It’s immersive, exhilarating, and great fun. So good in some cases that it may well deliver the most gaming fun you ever had.
- What You’ll Need
- Best Headset For Gaming
- Great Gaming?
- Who’s Developing The Games
- Game Types
- Released Titles
- Coming Soon
If you’re an experienced gamer, then it’s likely you’re in the anticipated one in four gamers who will be embracing virtual reality games with open arms in the search for a fix of high quality gaming fun….and if you don’t class yourself as a hardened gamer, then this new experience might well be what sets you on the road.
In fact, virtual reality gaming opens up the possibility of attracting a whole new generation of gamers who may not have been encouraged to play before. The increased sophistication that’s seen in this new breed of games is going to bring in a whole new audience. Those basic Mario or Sonic efforts would never have presented any attraction to potential players in VR.
More realistic experiences, with complex action-lines and characters mean that we’re looking at the next iteration of a true art form.
On this page we’ll look at how you get to play in virtual environments, the potential possible future growth in VR gaming, and review some of the benefits you’ll get from the immersive experience that playing in VR games promises to deliver. Last but not least we’ll look at the games themselves and what platforms they’re available on.
First though it’s worth knowing what you need – the different hardware and software elements that go into delivering the best VR gaming experience. That means the headsets and why you need them, plus the add-ons that improve the gaming experience.
What You’ll Need
The multimedia industry has been trying to find a way to make VR entertainment a reality for many years. By comparison, our much loved video games are a relatively new form of entertainment, only entering homes in the 70s.
Creating the necessary hardware at a level necessary for high quality VR gaming has proved incredibly difficult. New innovations in the technology, however, have made it possible to combine the immersive quality of virtual reality with the fun of a home video game.
To get the immersive experience and allow you to feel as if you’re “in the game” the key hardware you need is a specially designed VR headset. This is worn over the head and covers the eyes fully so as to exclude any external influences.
There are different types that either work with smartphones, PCs, or games consoles. There are even developments under way of devices that don’t need anything else, known as untethered headsets.
Clearly you’ll need one of these four types, depending on how much you want to spend and the quality of experience you’re looking for.
Which Is The Best Headset For Games?
Headsets that work with smartphones are the entry level for anyone interested in trying out virtual reality experiences, and although you can get a reasonable gaming experience from them, they can’t match the more powerful models.
So for gaming purposes, it’s the PC and console type devices that are going to give the best result. As of now, that means either the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, or Sony’s Playstation VR.
None are fully released, though plenty of demos have been seen on the two first-named. My bet is on the HTC Vive reigning supreme. Along with some exciting additional features which the others don’t currently have – specifically in the ability to deliver a sense of real body movement – HTC have teamed up with game-maker Valve. The games are guaranteed to be well designed and work perfectly with the device.
What’s So Good About The Gaming?
Currently – aside from 3D games which never quite took off – the art of gaming is limited to playing with the game image on a screen, in two dimensions. VR technology takes you out of that two dimensional environment and places you into the game itself as if you were present in it.
That’s the great benefit of VR gaming, pure and simple.
What it means is that you are now a ‘real’ participant in the game, in a vibrant, detailed game environment. Your movements and actions in a game are not hindered by a hand-held controller and subject to your skill in using it, but performed intuitively in the way you use your hands and body in the real world.
When advanced technology such as body sensor suits are paired with controllers in games in future, this sense of actively real participation will only be increased. Gameplay can become more intuitive than ever before. Should VR games prove successful, it could open new and innovative gaming experiences to players.
Who’s Developing The Games?
All of the headset manufacturers have vast libraries of games either already released or in planning. Either they’ve been working in partnership with game developers, or released pre-production versions of their headsets so that the game developers could get a head start.
Well known names in the gaming world such as Crytek, Harmonix, and Gunfire games have all got in on the act. Indie developers have also been busy, and will add to the hundreds of titles that will be available in the coming months and years.
The Differences in VR Game Types
From the game perspective itself, in what you’re trying to achieve within the gameplay, VR games are not specifically different from any other form of gaming. You’re still trying to wipe out zombies, you’re still trying to land a plane.
But they do offer a different, more immersive experience than the traditional 2D games we’ve been used to playing for many years. They’re designed in a different way. From the bottom up with an eye from the designers on how the virtual experience pans out to the player.
They’re played in a different way. They offer much, much more than what’s gone before.
Types Of Games
We can approach the subject of the types of virtual reality games from different perspectives.
One might be in the difference between those designed for smartphone, PC, or console use.
Another in the types that can be seen in the breakdown of boys games, girls games, and multiplayer or single player games.
But to adequately present a listing of different types, the best way is to run through what’s available genre by genre. In other words the subject matter of each type.
These can range anywhere from games such as shooters, racing, horror, RPG, and puzzle – right through to general adventure games, space exploration, football and other sports. All of these offer experiences where realism can be at its most important to give the gamer a sense of personal involvement.
Sports games lend themselves to VR gameplay play particularly well, as do many of the adventure shooting games.
Of course, the 2D versions of these types of games are already at an advanced realistic stage. But VR definitely adds another dimension, drawing the player right into the centre of the action. Types of popular VR games focussed on sports are destined to include football (or soccer), baseball, basketball, tennis, and snow sports such as skiing or snowboarding.
Puzzle games also benefit from VR delivery. Games that involve moving blocks, for example, give an enhanced gaming experience using size and depth and the ability to move in any direction.
Racing games and shooters in particular can count among the most popular for avid gamers. Racing titles tend to come with exciting graphics that can feature a multitude of vehicle and racetrack types, while shooting games with their realistic virtual settings, battles and gunfire really open up the possibilities. From shooting bad guys to alien invaders or just wacky targets, these offer a wide range of different experiences through clever use of different environments.
Enough on the background. Let’s get down to the crunch – and some of the titles already available. It’s early days and ultimately the list will be a big one.
There will be plenty to enjoy, from new made-for-VR titles through to remakes of old and trusted favourites.
The plan is to build a titles page to showcase everything released, but for now here’s one of the most interesting efforts – Adr1ft VR.
New Titles Coming Soon
There are already hundreds of virtual reality games either released or in planning, but as the popularity of VR entertainment grows it’s an absolute certainty that the list will grow ever bigger.
It surely can’t be long before we start to see development of titles based on highly popular existing games.
This section is reserved for advance notice of those newly advised games that are still in planning or development stage.