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Problems the VR gaming industry is facing

Let’s find out the major challenges the VR industry is going through that is bottlenecking the widespread adoption of this incredible technology.

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Image: Cas and Chary VR (YouTube)

It feels so weird that in the last five years we went from having huge notches at the top of our smartphones to having fingerprint scanners under the touchscreen. Not just that, we are now starting to see front-facing cameras underneath the display – giving us a notch-less display. And everyone loves it.

But when it comes to virtual reality (VR), things just don’t seem to be moving fast enough. Sure, the concept of virtual reality sounds perfect. It sounds like a goldmine just waiting for someone to become a billionaire off of. But for some reason, things just don’t seem to be moving fast enough.

When the movie Ready Player One was released, everybody wanted to have this technology already so they can have all the fun they want in video games. But things just don’t seem to be there yet.

It looks like something that is still in the distant future. And not because of the lack of technology.

AR is already a tested commodity for businesses. So why doesn’t everyone find themselves in a VR game every weekend?

Let’s find out the major challenges the VR industry is going through that is bottlenecking the widespread adoption of this incredible technology.

1. VR headsets require expensive gaming PC to run

Price is the biggest reason why a lot of technologies just don’t go mainstream. You see, most people that love VR don’t want to shell out $1000-2000 on a gaming PC configuration so they can have a good VR gaming experience. Add another $700-1000 on top of that for the VR headset that they will have to buy.

Before you know it, the whole thing will end up costing them their entire month’s salary.

Then why don’t they reduce the price of those headsets?

The pricing of VR headsets can’t go to a reasonable level without these manufacturers compromising on the parts.

Oculus has already thought about this and is selling their hardware at a loss. They want to get more people to buy Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S headsets.

So how do they turn a profit?

They do it on the game purchases from their store. They take a 30% cut on every purchase.

So the game developers end up paying more to offset the cost of the hardware. So if they were the reduce the cost even more, they would end up increasing the fee they charge the developers to sell their games through their store.

At some point paying this fee wouldn’t be worth it for the devs and so they may end up just not making VR games.

This creates a lose-lose situation for both parties if you think about it. On the one hand, some people just don’t want to spend that much money to experience VR. On the other hand, the companies can’t afford to lower the price to a reasonable without compromising on the quality of their products.

The Oculus Quest is only $299 and doesn’t require a gaming PC to work, but it runs on a glorified mobile phone chipset that can’t match the quality and power.

Not just that, there also isn’t enough high-quality content for people who did end up biting the bullet.

There is Half-Life: Alyx that is a VR exclusive. But that’s pretty much it as far as the average gamer is concerned. There are no AAA games that are being developed specifically for VR.

Sure there is Beat Saber but how long are you going to play that game? At some point, you would want to play something that has some sort of a story behind it.

2.     Not Enough Content

As I mentioned in my previous point, there is just not enough content for VR games out there. Big name developers haven’t flocked to the platform yet. If you only have a handful of really good games to play, how exciting can it get?

If you think about it, every industry has its own “killer app”. PC gaming has the Grand Theft Auto series and a list of other games that would take us too long to count, PlayStation has their exclusive games, the same thing with Xbox.

VR only has a handful of games.

The video game industry is THE biggest entertainment market in the world. Yes, it took over Hollywood a long time ago. But when it comes to VR games and illustrating all the crazy concepts that game developers manage to do in a traditional flatscreen monitor, it would take millions of dollars in investment to replicate that.

It all depends on who decides to pick that massive bill first because other companies will follow suit. Valve has already done it with Half-Life: Alyx and it was an amazing game.

It all depends on which AAA game studio will take on VR next.

It has to be a big studio because –

  • They are the ones who can afford the development costs
  • They have enough popularity that can help bring in millions of new players

Think about GTA V in VR. How fun would it be blowing up cars and watching them fly by your head while you dodge them? More content means that more websites will talk about the latest VR news, like AR/VR Tips, which will help the entire industry grow further.

3. People Can’t Play VR Games For Extended Sessions

You can play your gaming PC for extended 3-4 hours sessions. And some people even end up playing the whole weekend. That’s a different type of gamer though.

But when it comes to VR, most people can’t go for more than 1 hour without feeling disoriented. That’s just the nature of it.

So game developers have to think about this hard limit when designing their games.

It creates a huge problem because games have to be immersive by nature. That’s the reason why people choose to play video games over watching movies.

When watching a movie, you’re not interacting with it. You can just watch the story unfold and that’s it. With video games, you ARE the story. You are a participant in the story. And in all cases, the story revolves around you.

In some games, the decisions you make change the outcomes of the story. 

Like in Detroit: Become Human. Every decision you make puts you on a different path in the storyline which then changes the overall outcome of the game.

And for that reason, game developers have to make games immersive so that people end up playing for a long time.

This might be one of the biggest reasons why AAA developers haven’t touched the VR industry yet.

But that might change as its popularity increases.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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