Since the turn of the millennium, VR’s potential uses in video gaming have been hugely responsible for driving the technology forward. In an industry that strives for immersion, the ability to transport the user into a virtual, interactive world feels revolutionary.
As online multiplayer has become the dominant frontier of modern gaming, developers have longed for new means of player interactivity.
The uniqueness of virtual reality has birthed hugely ambitious concepts such as the metaverse. These are limitless social spaces bound by interconnectivity that allow players to socialize in a range of unique virtual environments.
Furthermore, even more conventional online games such as shooters, sports and driving games all play entirely differently in VR.
Despite the prospects of virtual reality, impactful breakthroughs in the industry had been scarce until recently. With VR’s potential finally being realized, this article looks at how the technology has transformed online gaming.
The History of Online Gaming and VR
Although multiplayer has always been a key facet of gaming, players were initially restricted to playing on the same system. Multiplayer as it is seen today began to take shape back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Microsoft’s Xbox introduced Xbox Live, which facilitated online play by providing servers for multiplayer compatible games. Competitors soon followed suit, catalyzing an industry shift to prioritizing online multiplayer.
The concept of VR headsets dates back to the early 20th century, though only a few crude prototypes were devised. VR’s potential uses in video gaming were largely ignored until the 1990s, when Nintendo and Atari both released unsuccessful VR goggles.
When modern VR headsets were introduced during the 2010s, captivating online play wasn’t possible due technological constraints. Most headsets came with a few single-player games, with some basic multiplayer titles available, but lacking in terms of quality.
The technology itself was impressive enough that multiplayer wasn’t necessary to attract potential customers. Furthermore, the industry had to amass enough players to reliably fill multiplayer lobbies.
As time drove progress, multiplayer games naturally became more refined as the focus on multiplayer drove development priority.
In the last few years, fully compatible, more conventional VR games have emerged.
VR and its Impact in Online Gaming
Virtual Reality simply refers to artificial and immersive environments for players to explore and experience. Specialized VR goggles conceal any real-world view, allowing the player to be totally engrossed by their virtual surroundings.
A controller tracks hand and finger movements, meaning any movements in the real world are replicated virtually.
VR requires that almost all of an in-game character’s actions are physically performed by the player. Steering a car or reloading a gun is no longer as easy as simply pressing a button.
Some of the biggest video game titles now have VR versions, including Minecraft, Half-Life, Fallout and Skyrim. Players are using VR to revisit their favorite video game worlds and immerse themselves like never before.
With the sounds and sights seeming frighteningly real, the player is truly able to feel physically part of the narrative.
What Games Are Best Suited to VR?
VR has transformed the experience of any game able to be played in first person. This encompasses a broad spectrum of different genres, from survival, shooter, horror and racing games amongst many others.
Casino gaming is another surprising beneficiary of the advancements in VR technology. Virtual casinos help to more authentically replicate the real-life experience. Online casinos have become more popular due to the convenience they offer as well as the bonuses and promotions on offer by most providers. For the best online casino bonuses that Pennsylvania’s thriving market has to offer, read the full post here.
Although an exciting technology, VR still falls far behind other gaming mediums in terms of popularity. Virtual reality headsets still only represent around 0.5% of the total revenue generated by gaming consoles and hardware.
Only around 30% of gamers own a virtual reality headset, compared to around 80% who’ve bought a console. The future, however, looks extremely promising with VR gaming revenue expected to grow to $2.4 billion in 2024.
The market itself is forecast to hit a CAGR of up to 30.2%, reaching a total valuation of $92 billion in 2027.
Almost 100 million people in the US alone own a VR headset. The fact that this increased by 38 million in the two years from 2020-2022 evidence the industry’s rapid growth.
The price of owning a headset is declining, as viable, low-cost alternatives emerge to combat the expensive industry leaders.
Is VR the Future of Online Gaming?
Game developers are particularly excited about virtual reality’s prospects within online multiplayer gaming. In VR, character interaction is more than impersonal sprites on a screen and requires actual physical investments from players.
Despite slow progressions in the gaming industry, VR truly feels like a technology with almost limitless potential. Offering a wholly unique gaming experience, the industry has long hailed virtual reality as the future of gaming.