25Apr
On: 25th April 2016

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are going to be under a lot of people’s Christmas trees this year, after all, you can pick some pretty decent models for under £200. Even Urban Outfitters have jumped on the bandwagon, offering VR headsets for as little as £30. But does this mean VR is about to take off or is it the beginning of the end for the commercial VR headset?

Since the Oculus Rift Kickstart, the world has wanted to get its hands on the immersive entertainment form. Whether it’s for gamification or just pure fun VR is disrupting the video game world, but there is a worry that commercial VR headsets will become a novelty. Just look at the PlayStation’s VR predecessor EyeToy. You could even argue that the Wii Console was relatively novelty in that it has sharp popularity but failed to really maintain it as the years went on.

That being said the Wii and EyeToy are little compared to what VR has the potential to offer. But there is still concern that VR will undertake rapid penetration and quickly fizzle out, leaving only a small audience pushing commercial VR forwards.

The problem may be down to the games currently offered on VR headsets. “VR games can and must deliver unique mechanics and gameplay experiences that cannot be realised in the traditional video game format,” said David Votypka. Novelty games mean novelty usage so for companies like Ubisoft they must create non-gimmicky games.

Luckily they are aware of this fact “As game developers we need to deliver these types of unique and compelling gaming experiences in 2016 in order to build both the interest and belief of gamers that investing their time and money into this new medium will be worthwhile.”

But VR is going to need more than just one company to understand the problems with VR. If companies just want to make a quick buck we could see a huge problem for VR headsets because longevity is in new features like haptic and gloves which cost money to produce; a price that will be pushed onto the consumer. With this in mind, only the really invested consumer will want to fork out £600+ for new VR headsets.

While there is also film and cinema opportunities for VR most agree that strapping goggles onto your face to watch a film a bit odd and, well, novelty. Ultimately VR could very well be the next big thing, but The National have stated, “the technology is still facing an actual reality that isn’t moving – literally – at anywhere near the same speed”. What do you think? Will VR headsets just be a commercial novelty or will they set the standard for gaming and entertainment?