So I recently watched a movie called Ready Player One, which is the coolest movie I have ever seen. The story of the movie is based on the technology of VR gaming. In the year of 2045, there is an expansive virtual reality universe called OASIS, people immerse into this OASIS world by spending so much time and money. In the movie, you can do anything in the virtual world, and the technology will let your body physically feel the pain and joy of the virtual world. This level of virtual reality makes everyone plays the game all the time and spend their money on it.
This makes a lot of people thinking: will our world become like this after 30 years? Will VR games impair our society and reduce overall productivity in the future?
Predicting the future is always a tough question, but as VR gaming become more popular and many people begin to realize such game have big potential, it’s important for us to understand what is VR game and its current industry.
What is VR Gaming?
It gives the player an entirely new way to experience a game. The user will have a 3-dimensional space to interact with the virtual environment and to manipulate different objects. It also lets the user immerse to the game by producing the realistic representation of different human senses. Such senses include3-dimensional visual and sound, tactile feedback, smell and even taste.
Freedom of body movement is also an important attribute of VR gaming. Your walking, running and body motions can be imitated to the game. Using the freedom of movement in VR just makes the game feel much more realistic. Even though some of the features are still in the experimental stage, for example, Oculus VR Company is still developing a better hand controller to make the game feel more like nature life. Those amazing features will be available shortly in the future.
The industry: The entire VR industry is still in a very early stage, many industry giants such as Samsung, Sony, and HTC released their headset in 2016. The chart below shows the sales of their headset.
The most sales in 2016 were the google CardBoard, which you can only insert your phone into the cardboard and you have access to virtual reality, this product is also very cheap. The second is Samsung Gear VR, where it has the most marketing campaign. We can see that many people are not willing to spend money on buying such devices at its early stage. Currently, VR has only about 1% market share in the gaming market. and according to Tractica, global virtual reality gaming sales were at about 5.1 million dollars in 2016. Any of these numbers are not impressive, however, according to the report of Grand View Research, Inc, under date of March 2017, VR in gaming market revenue will run at 45 billion dollars in 2025. And the revenue forecast looks like this:
Why there is potential?
Such drastic increase in forecasted sales is impressive and there are some reasons to support this forecast.
1: VR gaming currently is in an unmatured stage, and many gamers and users are either not aware or not confident in the technology. The key producers such as Samsung, Sony, Oculus VR, and Google, will increase such awareness in VR Gaming.
2: As the VR game market move forward, the content of VR games available for users will increase.
3: Industry Giants such as Nintendo and Sony will compete strongly, consequently reduce the prices of the devices.
4: Virtual reality game consoles and Mobile games will become more common in the future, therefore boost the sales of the industry.
last but not least: the idea of VR Gaming is cool and attractive for users. Whats impossible in the reality is possible in Virtual reality, and our social behavior also will be different when we meet people in the VR world.
Currently, there are many VR games available on different platforms such as PlayStation and steam. The majority of the games are action game, and if you play it on your PC, it has high requirement on your PC’s hardware.
problem: cost and content
In the start-up stage of the entire industry, the major problems are the cost of devices and the content of games.
If you want to have a VR game experience, you may first buy a VR device. The price range from $400 to $800. And because VR games have high requirement on the hardware of PC, you can choose to buy a Virtual-Reality Ready Computers, this cost about $900 to $4000 and up. The total price range from $1300 to $4800. You may also choose the PS4 VR bundle that cost $960 which is a cheaper option, but the content is more limited. The overall cost for VR games is quite expensive, especially in this earlier stage. In addition, the content of VR Games is also limited, currently, there are not many innovative games available for users.
As the analytics forecasted, those problems will be solved in the future, and I personally agree that there is big potential in the industry. It will be interesting to see how the society and government react to it if it can be as big as the movie ” Ready Player One”.