VR is fine and all, a nice diversion from gaming we’ve seen over the last thirty years, but for all it brings to the table, there is an awful lot that it removes as well. Portability, social interaction, and the comfortable feeling of playing games and not feeling cripplingly nauseous. That last one is a huge one for me, and as much as I want to see where this leads, I believe I’ll be gaming on a 2D screen until the day I leave this Earth.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer hopes for the same future, one where both traditional games and virtual reality games can co-exist. In an interview with GameSpot, Spencer explains his way of thinking.
“Well, now it’s just my opinion. I’ll say, obviously we have relationships with Valve, we have a relationship with Oculus around the VR work that they’re doing, but I’m going to say I kind of hope not.”
“It doesn’t mean I don’t think VR has great experiences to offer. I think it does, and we’ll find those, and people will love playing those. I love playing games in my family room with my kids. I love people coming together and watching what’s happening on screen and laughing, and the kind of fun of what video games were always about. That doesn’t mean that can’t happen in a kind of socially connected VR environment, but to me it would be too bad if all gaming became people with head mounted displays on, headphones on, kind of blocked out from everything that happens.”
And while he does admit that VR has a lot to offer, “but just kind of for the sake of what gaming is, I don’t think that should be the only way people play.”
I agree. Options are a wonderful and healthy for the industry, and not everybody wants to feel one with the world they are playing in through virtual reality alone. We’ve had a video game industry built on immersion for the last 30 years that has been able to create the same feeling through challenging your imagination using smart design and graphical choices to make you feel one with the game. For some, VR is just another step to make those classic theories less important because the tech fills in a lot of the gaps for your brain.
Phil Spencer and Microsoft aren’t the only ones either to speak in such a way. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime also spoke out against a total switch to VR, claiming that so far it “isn’t fun” and it is “just tech.”
How about it? Are you happy to game on a television with a controller forever, or are we destined to forget everything we’ve learned up to this point and exclusively follow VR?