At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2014, Sony announced their contribution to the Virtual Reality (VR) market, Project Morpheus. Scarred by unnecessary, tacked-on extras forced on to his gaming experience, Sam Foxall explains why he is skeptical about Morpheus’ chances.
With the recent announcement of Sony’s ‘Project Morpheus’, it seems there is another contender fighting for the VR crown in this generation, along with the Oculus Rift and the VR kit Valve is working on. This virtual reality arms race reminds me exactly of the motion control craze of the last generation, with all major companies jumping on the bandwagon of creating ‘the new way to play’. The game industry has not had the greatest track record with VR technology (Nintendo, I’m looking at you) and I wonder how much can actually be done to advance gaming with these new devices.
Take the Oculus Rift. All the tech demos, proof of concepts and ‘games’ that I have seen exhibited on it look interesting on the first go. Like the game Classroom Aquatic (where you play as a dolphin trying to cheat on a test by looking at other dolphins’ tests), but the interest seems limited past the initial excitement of the first playthrough.
None of the games I have seen running on the Oculus Rift have sold me on the concept beside flashy demos and the potential of the technology. I’ve yet to see a game built for VR which has got me foaming at the mouth to buy into the ‘VR Revolution’.
Another factor is that for the times when games like Team Fortress 2 have been showed on the Oculus Rift they have been shown with a plethora of other devices like an omnidirectional treadmill, gun peripherals to track hand movements and a surround sound system in order to immerse you in the game. That may be fun on the first go, but I don’t really want to have to look like Robocop going to the gym every time I want to play a first person shooter or have to fork out over £2000 to get the ‘full gaming experience’.
Also, how do the VR systems work with extended play sessions? I know I never use my 3DS’ 3D feature anymore due to it giving me headaches, so how would strapping a giant headset on my face help if I want to play a game for more than 20 minutes at a time?
This is coming from someone who has not used any of the devices and who may ultimately be converted to the way of VR once I have a go with the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus. Otherwise, all these projects seem to me like nothing more than fads which will end up on the shelf along with the Wii Balance Board, the Power Glove, the Kinect and the Eyetoy, never to be used again after the initial day’s play.
Let’s hope that the Valve, Sony and the Oculus Rift chaps have something to blow my socks off at E3. Otherwise, I’ll be sticking to a screen.
Are you as tired of gaming peripherals as Sam? Or do you think Morpheus and VR represent a viable opportunity to improve your gaming experience? You could have a gander at the comments section below, or you can also follow Exeposé Games and Technology on Facebook and Twitter.