Is VR Just Going to be Another Gimmick?

The hottest things you could literally not get your hands on in the ’90s were hover boards, face calling and VR. Although it was possible to get your hands on pseudo VR back in the 90s, it was at a great risk of your personal health and a total commercial failure. The Virtual Boy was the first attempt at VR back when the world was not ready for the technology needed in order to make it an success, but here we are yet again twenty years later. Is VR finally ready to be a success or will it be a total commercial failure as it once was?

The first biggest problem with Nintendo’s VR was that it was conceived during the a time when everyone was fascinated with VR. The technology wasn’t enough to generate immersive 3D worlds. As a result, the console sold horribly despite the significant price drops that Nintendo continuously lavished on those who had purchased the console for $180 dollars were treated to nothing but horrific side effects and Wario Land. We are seeing the idea of VR pop up once more in the 21st century with the Oculus Rift, Hololens and PlayStation VR, but are the side effects over and done with? Yes, the kinks of Virtual Boy are long over and done with and comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges, but still you are strapping a headset on your face nonetheless.

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I’m sure we have all heard our mothers yell at us for sitting to close to our television screen while playing video games at one point or another in our lives and the way this encounter usually went down was your mother warning you that sitting to close to the television will hurt your eyes. Although it is a myth and it’s a proven scientific fact that sitting close to our television sets will cause us no harm at all, the vast gaming community is still ignoring what the technology might do to our eyes and our brains. We are essentially heading down a rabbit hole with little information as possible. Typical gamers put an average amount of 6.5 hours per a week into games and hardcore gamers are sometimes spending that much every day. Now it’s one thing to be looking at a television for that long; you’re not completely encased in a television, you still have lights all around you and even if you’re watching in the dark, you still don’t have blinders fixating your eyes on the screen.

While our current understanding is that VR is safe, it’s still an incredibly new technology that has not been tested by the masses. All we need is another Virtual Boy eye-melting experience on our hands and with PlayStation already making claims that VR is the future of the console, they could be walking on a tight rope without a net to catch them. Even all the unknown effects of prolonged VR exposure aside, this very statement sends shivers down our spins, “I think VR is on top of everyone’s mind about what the next ten years are going to be about,” said Sony’s computer entertainment boss for Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Michael Ephraim. If this does not ring any bells to you or encapsulate fear into your very soul, let us remind you of when the hot new thing was motion controls. Remember motion controls? Remember how much it made gaming suck? Sure you do because no one has picked up a set of PlayStation move controls since their conception and the Sixaxis controller died out fast. The only company to go down with the ship was Nintendo’s Wii who even then developed a more traditional controller to supplement its nunchucks.

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If Sony was to jump on board the VR train and push the VR gimmick on its community and it doesn’t stick, they could be sitting the in the current predicament that the Wii has sat in for the past decade. VR is still in part a large mystery and although we are all about furthering technology and reaching for the stars, we are still gamers at heart and nothing will ever beat a traditional controller in hand and  TV across from us. The question in the back of our minds is how does this effect social gaming? Your friend come over and already they spend half their time looking down at their phones instead of being apart of the conversation and now we will have a headset setting up a wall when it comes to social gaming. Now we can’t even see (or hear if they have a headset on) our friend. It’s a little complaint, but it’s the small things that get us.