In recent years we’ve seen a pretty big push for VR gaming. I personally prefer a traditional monitor, mouse and keyboard, but I can admit VR is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, true VR is expensive, and good AAA VR titles are few and far between.
If you take a look at the VR devices on the market right now, there are plenty of options. Prices range from around $100 all the way up to $800. The Samsung Gear is a mobile VR system and the low-range option, around $130. While the price is affordable, you’re not going to experience the true quality and immersion that higher end (and more costly) models have to offer. The HTC VIVE is regarded as one of the best VR devices on the market today, and it’ll cost you over $800.
Your average Joe who wants to experience true VR doesn’t have $800 laying around to drop on the HTC VIVE. Furthermore, you can’t use your HTC VIVE without the accompanying hardware, i.e. a pretty high-end gaming PC.
At this point in time in 2018, building a gaming PC is pretty difficult due to the GPU shortage. You’d probably have to drop around $800-$1,000 on a custom gaming PC that’s capable of VR, or you could buy a prebuilt for around $700. A gaming PC under 500 dollars definitely won’t cut it for VR gaming.
Let’s assume you went bare minimum with your gaming rig and bought a $700 prebuilt gaming PC and an $800 HTC VIVE. That’s still $1,500 you’d have to spend for the best VR available.
At this point in time in 2018, building a gaming PC is pretty difficult due to the GPU shortage.
There are other less expensive options out there such as the PlayStation VR. You don’t have to worry about being able to run games either which is nice, rendering this the best option for those on a budget. However, less expensive options don’t deliver the same VR experience. When talking about true immersive VR, it’s very expensive, but that’s not the only problem with VR in 2018.
Motion sickness is also an issue with VR gaming. If you’re in the car reading a book or checking your phone, you may feel a bit nauseous or sick. This is because your body feels movement but you don’t see what you’re feeling on your phone or in your book. You can read more about motion sickness here.
VR seems to have the opposite effect. When you’ve got the VR headset on, your brain sees movement but you don’t feel it. Some people aren’t affected by this, others get sick within minutes of playing. It also can depend on the title. If you’re flying in a fighter jet you may feel sick as opposed to standing still and using a bow and arrow for example. This issue is really dependent on the person, but it is a huge turn-off for some. Imagine spending $800+ on your new VR device only to discover you can’t use it without feeling sick.
The last big issue has to do with the VR game market. As of right now there aren’t any studios actively making awesome AAA titles for any VR systems. We’re starting to see some games being ported for VR such as Fallout, but most companies aren’t ready to start making VR versions of games, much less brand new VR AAA titles.
It’s an amazing experience, and the games available at this time are fun, don’t get me wrong. The down side is they get old after a while. None of them really have a storyline or anything of the sort like other big games. They’re fun for 30 minutes or so but that’s about it; they could be described as ‘party games’.
Why haven’t game developers truly adopted VR?
The market isn’t ready for it. Most gamers can’t afford a VR device, so there’s not a huge demand for them; due to basic laws of supply and demand, the supply won’t go up until demand does. Demand for them isn’t going to go up until there are better games available, but the studios won’t produce high-quality AAA titles for VR unless there’s a high demand for them. Since they won’t produce games, not as many people will want VR devices, the price will remain higher, etc. It seems like an endless loop.
There have been some announcements of new AAA titles, but we’ll have to wait and see how good the games really are.
Fortunately for VR gaming, there is hope. Back in 2015 there were 7 million VR gamers worldwide. There are roughly 100 million users at this time and by the end of the year it’s estimated that there will be 170+ million VR gamers. As more adopt the new platform, better games will be produced and VR devices will be in higher supply, and technology will only improve. In the future VR gaming will be not only more practical, but more affordable.
So, what’s the verdict? Should you buy a VR device in 2018?
Probably not. VR gaming is fun, but not necessary especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on it. You’re better off waiting for better AAA titles to release, not to mention the price coming down to a more reasonable level. Either way, one thing is for certain: VR gaming is here to stay!