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The best use of VR in gaming

VR and AR technology is gaining momentum with its ability to innovate and create a connection with virtual worlds. We take a look at some of the best examples.

Although the technology is still in its adolescence, we’ve come a long way from the early days of VR. Beyond retrofitting console experiences like Skyrim or Fallout 4 into VR, there are now endless possibilities for how this technology can be used in creative and innovative ways.

Rhythm and beat

Rhythm games have been firm favourites with players of all ages since the earliest commercial consoles were released, and are often strong sources of innovation, especially when it comes to new technology. We’ve seen it with touch screens and audio controls, with elaborate controllers such as Guitar Hero, and now with VR – where your entire body becomes the instrument.

Beat Saber is a perfect example of this, a fully immersive and explosive musical experience that can only really be experienced in VR. As you slice your way through the tunes you can work up a real sweat, while feeling the music in a way no other technology has allowed. With a quality pair of headphones and a suitable VR setup, you can properly lose yourself in the beat.

Multiplayer experiences

It may have been a long time since you were in the school playground, playing with your pals on climbing frames and creating elaborate worlds with their own rules, but VR allows us to re-enter this nostalgic communal experience in a whole new dimension. Games like Among Us VR and Star Trek: Bridge Crew transport you to a simpler world, where you and your friends can focus on the tactile experience of playing together, even if you’re on different sides of the globe.

The way that multiplayer VR spaces allow us to see other people, to engage in stealth (like in Budget Cuts) and combat (with games like In Death), or to simply sit in a beautiful forest and play a game of chess (in Tabletop Simulator), means that the social element of video games is more advanced than ever. Short of travelling to see your long-distance mates, this is the closest you get to real interaction, all within a fully-realised virtual world.

Augmented worlds

If you remember the slightly chaotic Playstation EyeToy that allowed you to superimpose a virtual pet on a grainy video of your living room, you’ll already have some idea of what AR is about. The success of Pokemon GO back in 2016 was a testament to how much we want adorable virtual creatures to inhabit our less fantastical world. AR is a technology that is really picking up momentum as it moves away from flat images and moves towards tangible gaming experiences.

The incredible Tilt Five shows us what can now be achieved by AR technology, as all the user must do to create a vibrant 3D world in front of them is wear a pair of projection glasses above a reflective board, and wave the six degrees of freedom (6DoF) wand to ‘touch’ the holograms produced. The possibilities are endless, allowing gamers to use physical gestures in the real world to do anything from creating digital room layouts to playing intricate tabletop games.

Exploration and flight

Becoming a pilot is notoriously hard work, and space travel isn’t really a realistic dream for many of us, but using VR headsets coupled with powerful PCs allows us to simulate these experiences like never before. The incredible realism of Microsoft Flight Simulator gives otherwise grounded individuals the opportunity to soar over very real places and landmarks, all while learning deeply complex maneuvers and controls.

It’s easy to see how someone could lose days or even weeks among the clouds, or perhaps even further, as with Elite Dangerous in VR. Elite Dangerous allows pilots to fly in a 1:1 replica of our Milky Way, effectively opening up a window into the experience of space flight to everyday gamers. Where once we would wait for small sections of alien planets to load on our screens (such as Illium in Mass Effect), we can now suspend our disbelief and be surrounded by a hyper-realistic simulation of our own galaxy.

Of course, there are more innovative VR and AR games and technologies launching all the time, but those who have a hand in the industry at this point in time are set to see it become infinitely more accessible, more creative, and have more of an impact on how we interact with games in just a few years. Technology is ever-growing, and now more than ever, gamers are developing a taste for the rich experiences it can provide. If you are working on a VR or AR game and need any support marketing your project get in touch here.