Virtual reality gaming is on our doorstep and I’ve had a chance to have a sneak peek at the PlayStation VR, I say sneak peek because the PlayStation VR isn’t quite complete. Tracking still isn’t one-to-one and there’s still work to be done on the image quality – edges are rough and objects seemed a little less clear than their HD display – but Sony seems clearly determined to iron these out before it comes to market. It has a good catalogue of games, it’s comfortale and almost affordable. There has been reports of severe motion sickness whilst playing with the PlayStation VR so will not be for everyone.
My first gaming console was a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) the simple A and B buttons were my trusted allies. I would play Mario for hours throughout the day, then later on in the night when I should have been sleeping, my mother would catch me, eyed glued to the television, playing Contra on mute. Fast forward 15 years, and I find myself doing the same thing. (although my bedtime hours have differed since my adolescence) I was not a complete hermit – I did occasionally venture outside to play with sticks, climb trees and stock up on vitamn D from the sun. Later my console collection followed the familiar evolution from the NES, the Sega Mega Drive, PlayStation, Xbox etc. Throughout my childhood we all heard a family member/friend saying “I would have loved this game when I was your age” whilst playing my beloved games in the nineties. I’ve recently finished playing Dark Souls 3 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and was simply in awe by the graphical advances that have been made. Travelling through the world of The Witcher 3 and whilst being grateful for being part of the gaming world at present, in the back of my mind is a voice saying “I would have loved this game when I was younger” – today, something has changed in the formula – online gaming.
When online gaming really became mainstream on consoles, the gaming world itself changed. And everybody had tickets in hand, ready to jump aboard and sail off into true expansive gaming. Will VR have the same effect? I cant help think it won’t. Remember when the Wii was released? Everybody was fascinated by the idea of remote play (including myself). Of course it was innovative and exciting, and whilst sales went through the roof, the concept quickly faded away, we reverted back to “traditional” methods of gaming. We thought we were ready for it, the technology simply wasn’t. Will we see the same problem when a fully fleshed out VR system is released? Are we ready for it?
I do not mean to sound cynical. I also don’t want to just sit playing Contra until the early hours of the morning (even with volume) either. I’m not a stubborn old school gamer, and of course I’m open to innovation in gaming technology – I’m simply content with what we have presently.