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Is VR doomed to fail?


nosweargamer

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If Sega, who gave us the 32X & Activator, gave up on VR, should we?

 

I remember in the 90's when Virtual Reality seemed like it was just around the corner. I experienced it in a museum and heard rumors of Sega and Atari preparing VR units for the Genesis & Jaguar. Even Nintendo came out with the Virtual Boy. However both Sega and Atari gave up on VR and the Virtual Boy bombed, in part due to consumers complaining about headaches and such. 

 

Now VR finally seems to be around the corner about 20 years later, but I was wondering if there will be two inherent problem with VR that will cause it to fail:

 

1) Physical - Could wearing a screen mere inches away from your eyes cause uncomfortable straining after using it for more than a few minutes?  Could, like the Virtual Boy, a significant number of users end up complaining of headaches and disorientation?

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Got Excedrin?

 

2) Psychological - Could wearing a device that blocks out your surroundings cause unintended anxiety? Ever hear a noise in your home and quickly glance in that direction without thinking? I believe that reaction gives us comfort that we are not in danger after we receive visual confirmation. However, with a VR device, you would have to go through the process of removing the device before you can get the same confirmation.

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In the end I wonder if this will end up like 3D technology. While 3D has improved, I still know people who believe 3D movies and such cause strain on their eyes. I, like some other 3DS owners, rarely use the 3D feature.  And while widely available, 3D TVs are still seen as a novelty that has not been widely accepted.  Also while the number of movies in 3D has risen, most movies are still screened in 2D. 

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Some things should stay in 2D

 

And remember Google Glass? It bombed too.

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Even Google makes mistakes. 

 

Perhaps Sega and Atari abandoned VR because they knew what facebook and the Oculus rift might find out in the future: Having a screen that close to your eyes just can't work for the most of us.

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Is this facebook's biggest mistake?

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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No Swear Gamer, I've spent the majority of my adult life in this field, and I can say with absolute clarity that you have stumbled onto something. VR, AR, simple video glasses, any face-mounted wearable tech is a tough nut to crack.

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Where it MIGHT succeed is offering an experience like the Void.    In a building with equipment set up for VR.



This project, for example, is one being developed by Tracy Hickman's son.  (Guy who co-wrote the Dragonlance Chronicles)

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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I don't think any of the VR efforts in the 90s for mass consumer usage was truly executed properly. Nintendo screwed up from the onset and the Virtual Boy doesn't even count in my opinion. The other cheap headsets made using really poor head movement input and incredibly low resolution video displays also made for a terrible experience. If you ever played with a Philips Scuba / Dynovisor, it was definitely the low-resolution version of what was planned for the Atari Jaguar VR headset, which is why they went back and made a higher-(and heavier)-resolution version. I know Virtuality really didn't have the money to do it back then but they should have really done something on the consumer level with VR that wasn't Philips Scuba related. It's a shame that was the end result of the Jaguar VR.

 

VR isn't doomed for failure but it will most likely not see the expected explosion many are hoping or planning for. I think it'll be fascinating to watch a movie in full 360-degree VR as it'll give different angles and things to find or see, thus increasing replay value in movies like never before. I would much rather see a movie like that than in 3D... although I guess this would give the added benefit of both features in one so it's a win-win. With the Oculus Rift being priced at a hefty $599 though, may prove to slow progress initially but with the countless amount of competition from other players in the market, that could change quite quickly. The feedback to that has been overwhelmingly negative.

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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What fascinates me is that all these big companies who had financial backing and experience with toys, gaming and/or technology all ended up abandoning VR. Even Nintendo, who embraces new technology more than most gaming companies, basically said "Yeah, let's not do this again."  You would think if those companies saw promise in VR, they would've at least continued to develop it to get a return on their investment.

 

Currently my prediction is that in the next 10 years, VR will have more success than Google Glass, but not as much as 3D has with movies, TV and games, which is still not widely accepted. It seems no matter how much the tech improves, there will be people who get nauseous from using it and others who would feel foolish wearing a VR headset.

 

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I wouldn't mind being wrong.  I think to most gamers, the idea of an immersive VR world is very intriguing.  But I doubt the 90's predictions of VR replacing gaming, being used by doctors to create dinosaurs and creating alternate universes where programs turn against us will happen.

 

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The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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If you want the best of the best and ultimate possible experience, the Oculus Rift is going to be the best bet for your money but if Sony is actually able to deliver the headset itself for only $299 then that'll change everything. Seriously doubt it'll be nearly as mainstream as everyone hopes it to be and may be more niche but regardless it'll definitely prove to be the best way to get VR in the hands of the masses.

 

Admit it, the Playstation VR headset looks cool as hell out of all the headsets announced and if they stick to that price, they'll quickly and easily outpace the Rift by miles.

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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Yeah back in the early days it was a fun gimmick for sure. Today being taken so seriously I don't know, like 3D TV I just don't imagine large market penetration until it can be done some how cost effectively and without cumbersome attachments / headsets etc. WAKE ME UP WHEN WE HAVE THE HOLODECK ! 

I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

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How do you combat the very fact that for long periods of play, the headset is going to get warm, start to feel very heavy on players face etc and become something of an uncomfortable experience all round....

 

This is why I think the whole Virtuality and arcade games (most 30 minutes) / Jaguar VR thing would have really done well. The idea was to play Missile Command VR in a very short period of time and most games that require the use of a VR headset should be limited to an hour at most. The idea that someone is going to have one of these things strapped to their face for 4-6 hours does quickly pose serious health concerns, which was a huge deal back in the 90s surrounding VR from a legality standpoint. It's like we've all but forgotten about the risks involved and said screw liability.

 

I think R.O.U.T.I.N.E. (the game) is going to be amazing and hope it gets the VR treatment option. I've been constantly writing Breeze Studios about their Star VR headset but they refuse to respond so far. Apparently I'm going to have show up at their doorstep and knock until someone answers personally. Sadly, I'm joking because of their location, otherwise I would do it.

 

So the best available is a 6 out of 10? Doesn't sound good.

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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It seems to me that VR falls into something I like to call the "Technology Uncanny Valley", along with personal robots, flying cars, and jet packs.

 

These technologies are always hyped as this "gee-whiz", super duper technology of the future, always "right around the corner", everyone will be using it "within the decade".

These days, we have come to realize that jet packs are hugely impractical, flying cars again fairly impractical for at least a couple more decades yet, and personal robots are seen as "meh" at best, a creepy harbinger of Terminator at worst.

 

And I believe VR is falling into this very same "Technology Uncanny Valley". For some reason, everybody agrees, in theory, that VR is an awesome idea, the next great advancement since Ralph Baer invented home video games.

 

But, when you really get down to the nitty gritty, it seems that everyone and their mother is ready to jump on VR and parade its so-called flaws for all to see. Everybody is convinced VR will fail. It's nice, in theory, but they claim the world just isn't ready, much like the world isn't ready for flying cars.

 

It is a strange disconnect.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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