Every year, new trends emerge, graphics get better, and developers and gamers are constantly thinking, what next? In an industry where innovation is key, it would make sense that gaming companies are pushing the envelope at every opportunity. VR, is a great way to breathe new life into the industry for both new gaming titles like Arktika, and older titles that have been released too many times already.
For video games, perspective is everything; modern VR brings a perspective that even technology vets couldn’t have dreamt of five years ago. Skyrim VR is an interesting example of this, as it has been (or is planned to be) released on every modern gaming console under the sun. The soon-to-be-released VR version is a way of playing Skyrim that’s new, unique, and never been seen before, which is exciting. The updates will allow a player to experience the full universe of Skyrim in its entirety—wielding a sword or releasing a spell, or looking up and seeing a dragon flying overhead. Players have the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in a game and create a whole new experience.
Think of some of your favorite games. Now, imagine what they could be like in a VR world. Some of my personal favorites from the past include Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Starcraft: Brood War. In my opinion, both Mario 64 and Zelda would be interesting in VR. How cool would it be to look off into the distance within Mario, in what feels like real life, and see the star you just unlocked ready to be taken, or a goomba heading your way? If you were able to put on a VR headset and join the world of Zelda, you could finally appreciate the raw size of something like Gannon’s castle or glance behind you while riding Epona to see if you’re being chased. For the Starcraft series, the implication would be huge in spectator mode. You could “plug into” the map, quickly pick and choose what you want to watch, spin the camera to better see a battle, then look over and see a player cam and their reaction as they win the big battle– that would be amazing. The possibility of merging childhood nostalgia and modern technology is intoxicating.
While the thought of VR bringing Mario and my other favorite childhood gaming memories to life is amazing, there are so many hurdles that prevent the idea from coming to fruition. For example, older games are coded differently, which makes re-releasing the game in VR extremely difficult. This undertaking would result in massive code rewrites, which would cost a lot of money. In addition to coding challenges, control schemes for moving games are far from perfect; the consumer technology is still too expensive for all but the enthusiast-level user.
Despite these hurdles, VR, even in its infancy, is an exciting piece of technology for the gaming industry. Gaming is quickly becoming more than just an image on a screen; therefore, developers should begin thinking about creating worlds that players can interact with from every angle. Ultimately, VR is a change catalyst and will certainly alter the way we look at the past, present, and future of gaming.
About Patrick Soulliere
Patrick Soulliere is Global eSports and Gaming Marketing Manager at Micron Technology. In his role, he is responsible for managing all gaming and eSports related activities for Micron. He creates and coordinates the execution of global gaming plans, interacts with top eSports professionals around the world, and negotiates worldwide sponsorship deals.
Patrick Soulliere is Global eSports Gaming Marketing Manager for Micron Consumer Products Group