$600 for the The Oculus Rift?

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albino boo:

Olas:
I'm glad the first major VR product is fairly high-end. VR needs to prove itself as something truly exciting and desirable to people, and that means it needs to be good and work well. If they just pumped out a cheaper but crappier version that didn't work quite right people are more likely to lose interest in the tech.

The counter argument is why would any developer spend time on money adapting or creating content for a peripheral that only has 100,000 users.

Probably so they can get a few steps ahead in the game when VR does become the main thing. For development companies in an extremely fast-paced and competitive industry, it's an investment that could pay off pretty well. That's why there's already VR support in a number of games (both indie and AAA).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_Oculus_Rift_support

rgrekejin:
I suspect that VR's primary problem isn't going to turn out to be cost. Rather, its going to suffer the same problem as 3D TV/movies - once that new tech smell fades, and you put enough time in on the device that you stop going "OMG I'm IN the GAME!" every time you strap it on, you realize that it really doesn't add enough to the experience to justify the additional expense and inconvenience of using it. I'm certain enthusiasts will disagree, but then, there are still some people who love their 3D TVs. And I'm certain that I'm going to get jumped on here by a bunch of people who swear up and down that if I'd actually tried VR with whatever their preferred device is instead of the previous iteration of that same device, then I'd know what "real" VR is and I'd wonder how I ever lived without it. I guess the only possible response to that is that we'll see, won't we?

3D TV's aren't really comparable to VR. For all intents and purposes, 3D TV is, for all intents and purposes, just a visual filter, with fairly limited potential in advancing the way a film or TV show tell a story and portray characters. Further, it has little more impact on gaming than something like... a new shader mask. It doesn't improve performance or optimization, and it really doesn't add much of anything in the way of how you can interact in the game.

VR on the other hand? VR completely changes the game for first person view. It offers the easiest and most intuitive method for separating the player's POV from character movement. As an example, say you're running your character down an alley, running from a zombie or whatever. You don't have to turn your entire character's body just to glance behind you. You don't even need to slow down or stop your character's movement, you just turn your head and look, and then turn your head back like you would in real life (minus the zombie). And then there's the VR motion controllers, which goes even further towards making player interaction less clunky (especially for melee combat, which has always been a challenge to implement realistically in a game).

Ah, and one other thing. With the right kind of hardware design, VR can actually reduce the stress on computer/console. Basically, eye tracking FOV. The computer/console would be able to render at a much smaller resolution than normal for an optimal view, thus saving a LOT of performance.

Ender910:

albino boo:

Olas:
I'm glad the first major VR product is fairly high-end. VR needs to prove itself as something truly exciting and desirable to people, and that means it needs to be good and work well. If they just pumped out a cheaper but crappier version that didn't work quite right people are more likely to lose interest in the tech.

The counter argument is why would any developer spend time on money adapting or creating content for a peripheral that only has 100,000 users.

Probably so they can get a few steps ahead in the game when VR does become the main thing. For development companies in an extremely fast-paced and competitive industry, it's an investment that could pay off pretty well. That's why there's already VR support in a number of games (both indie and AAA).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_Oculus_Rift_support

The number of AAA games on that list is one and that has partial support.

SlumlordThanatos:

That being said...VR isn't going to vanish again. Virtual Reality is close. Very close. We can practically taste it, because there is only one real obstacle to overcome, and it's fairly minor. All someone needs to do is figure out a way to drastically cut the cost of production, and we're fucking there.

It's only a matter of time. I'm confident that it'll finally be able to take off within the next decade.

There is a huge stepping stone that needs to be addressed and that is VR making you feel as if you are part of the world.

Just being able to see and hear the virtual world isn't enough. You need to be able to feel the ground beneath your feet, the texture of the object in your hand, the wind blowing through your hair.

Limiting the user to just two of their senses is not enough. Otherwise they are just going to feel like a ghost moving through the world, there but not truly a part of it.

Ender910:

rgrekejin:
I suspect that VR's primary problem isn't going to turn out to be cost. Rather, its going to suffer the same problem as 3D TV/movies - once that new tech smell fades, and you put enough time in on the device that you stop going "OMG I'm IN the GAME!" every time you strap it on, you realize that it really doesn't add enough to the experience to justify the additional expense and inconvenience of using it. I'm certain enthusiasts will disagree, but then, there are still some people who love their 3D TVs. And I'm certain that I'm going to get jumped on here by a bunch of people who swear up and down that if I'd actually tried VR with whatever their preferred device is instead of the previous iteration of that same device, then I'd know what "real" VR is and I'd wonder how I ever lived without it. I guess the only possible response to that is that we'll see, won't we?

3D TV's aren't really comparable to VR. For all intents and purposes, 3D TV is, for all intents and purposes, just a visual filter, with fairly limited potential in advancing the way a film or TV show tell a story and portray characters. Further, it has little more impact on gaming than something like... a new shader mask. It doesn't improve performance or optimization, and it really doesn't add much of anything in the way of how you can interact in the game.

VR on the other hand? VR completely changes the game for first person view. It offers the easiest and most intuitive method for separating the player's POV from character movement. As an example, say you're running your character down an alley, running from a zombie or whatever. You don't have to turn your entire character's body just to glance behind you. You don't even need to slow down or stop your character's movement, you just turn your head and look, and then turn your head back like you would in real life (minus the zombie). And then there's the VR motion controllers, which goes even further towards making player interaction less clunky (especially for melee combat, which has always been a challenge to implement realistically in a game).

Ah, and one other thing. With the right kind of hardware design, VR can actually reduce the stress on computer/console. Basically, eye tracking FOV. The computer/console would be able to render at a much smaller resolution than normal for an optimal view, thus saving a LOT of performance.

I wasn't aware that separating player POV from character movement has been a problem for anyone since the implementation of the player-controlled camera.

...and then there's the bit where you talk about motion controls somehow making something *less* clunky, which runs contrary to literally every single experience anybody has ever had with every implementation of motion controls ever.

I'm just not seeing what problems VR solves that actually needed solving. Does it really improve immersion? Sure, especially at first, but that will likely break down over time as people get used to the tech and it loses its Wow-factor, especially since, as another user noted, VR is capable of providing feedback to at most two senses. I'm just not convinced that whatever increase in immersion it can provide is going to be enough to make people want to strap on a big 'ol pair of goggles tethered to a computer by a few feet of wire. It's inconvenient. It's expensive. And worst of all (for a lot of people) it looks incredibly silly. Something more in the vein of the hololens, I think, which doesn't require you to completely isolate yourself from the outside world, might have a better chance of success.

albino boo:

Olas:

Because nearly all 100,000 users will buy it, or at least a much larger percentage will than if it's on a crowded platform. These people paid 600 dollars for the device, I imagine they'll wanna get they're money's worth from it. Besides, some kinds of games can be adapted to VR fairly easily without having to change much with the main game. Basically I'm just parroting what Totalbiscuit said in his recent vid on the topic, I'd check that out if you want to hear the case argued better.

Console sales are in the millions and gaming pcs are in the same magnitude. At 100k sales there is not simply enough of user base to even port an existing game to it. A team of 5 people working for 3 months will cost at least $50k and there is no guarantee of extra sales.

1. If we're actually gonna start crunching numbers, I wouldn't mind knowing where this 100k figure came from.

2. When I said some games can be easily adapted to VR, I wasn't just talking about ports of completed games, I was talking about games built from the ground up with optional VR support. Ports of popular existing games are not only possible but inevitable, even if it's done through the modding community. People who drop money on VR to begin with are going to seek out games that validate their investment, so having VR support will be a strong selling point for those invested in the technology.

3. You say that console sales are in the millions, but developers already focusing on the PC crowd, especially the high-end PC crowd, won't really care what console sales are like. For those games the net loss from narrowing the userbase is much smaller than it would be for an Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider, which apparently can't bank unless the population of Beijing pre-orders it.

4. While high sales are obviously ideal, those producing games also want certainty as much as possible. Making a game VR native might have the downside of limiting the potential player-base, but it also provides assurance that it'll get good sales among the player base it does have, at least while the number of VR equipped games is small.

AyaReiko:

Olas:
I'm glad the first major VR product is fairly high-end. VR needs to prove itself as something truly exciting and desirable to people, and that means it needs to be good and work well. If they just pumped out a cheaper but crappier version that didn't work quite right people are more likely to lose interest in the tech.

And just how would VR do that if the userbase is small?

Well, I already answered this for albino poo, but basically I'd expect it to do well for those who favor low risk over large potential, at least in the short term. The potential player base is small, but with little competition any games made for VR have a much better chance of selling well to the base that exists.

And it's not just going to cost $600 to get the OR for the average user, it's going to cost them upwards of over $2000 to get the thing and a system capable enough to run it. For tech that hasn't been proven to have any legs, that's beyond way too much for nearly anyone.

Most of the people willing to drop $600 for a VR headset already have a high-performance PC to use it. If someone is really planning to buy a $2000 PC just to use VR, a price increase from $300 - $400 to $600 probably isn't going to deter them.

OR is only going to be bought by a niche audience only. For devs, that small audience isn't going to be close to big enough to make content that makes the most out of OR's hardware.

For triple A devs you mean. Not all devs are seeking an install base in the millions.

albino boo:
The number of AAA games on that list is one and that has partial support.

I'll concede to that point, I didn't look it over as well as I should have. I'd mostly assumed there had been more after seeing how well Dying Light implemented most of it in their game (which is where my example comes from, where my friend had actually been able to turn around and look behind him seemlessly while his character was still running normally).

The point I should have made there however is that major engines such as Unreal 4 and Unity already have almost full VR support for developers. And having tinkered around with the Unreal 4 devkit, I can see that as being pretty easy for most developers to utilize. Also, there's a couple of links further down showing VR fully functional in Elite Dangerous (which is already out) and EVE Online: Valkyrie (in development).

votemarvel:
There is a huge stepping stone that needs to be addressed and that is VR making you feel as if you are part of the world.

Just being able to see and hear the virtual world isn't enough. You need to be able to feel the ground beneath your feet, the texture of the object in your hand, the wind blowing through your hair.

Limiting the user to just two of their senses is not enough. Otherwise they are just going to feel like a ghost moving through the world, there but not truly a part of it.

There are some pretty feasible ways to simulate at least some degree of touch (at least with VR/Motion Controllers for your hands) by using haptic feedback on physics collisions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3hhIYr1f4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cH-AlBJi9Q

Still a little limited I'll grant you, but it's not quite as crude as "rumble" action.

rgrekejin:
I wasn't aware that separating player POV from character movement has been a problem for anyone since the implementation of the player-controlled camera.

Not a problem persay so much as a limitation. It's not something that's usually noticeable in most games, and I hadn't even realized it until that Dying Light example I keep mentioning. After thinking about it a bit, I realized it was a limitation that I'd actually seen before. Games like Dark Messiah, Jedi Outcast/Academy, and Mount and Blade allow players to control the swing direction and orientation. This made for some extremely satisfying melee combat, but the design was hindered by the movement based approach to control those swings (strafing + movement direction, or mouse movement). Largely the only other alternative often available are combo systems, which really... is just a poor way to simulate melee combat. Here's a couple of examples where VR is being utilized as well (Couldn't find a fitting melee example, but this does show how much more situational awareness VR offers than a screen)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tuoblo95j4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iM31NDkbM8

rgrekejin:
...and then there's the bit where you talk about motion controls somehow making something *less* clunky, which runs contrary to literally every single experience anybody has ever had with every implementation of motion controls ever.

I'll have to ask my friend for more details tomorrow (I really should keep notes when he's explaining the tech details). Gyroscopes aren't exactly my strong-suit :P

rgrekejin:
I'm just not seeing what problems VR solves that actually needed solving. Does it really improve immersion? Sure, especially at first, but that will likely break down over time as people get used to the tech and it loses its Wow-factor, especially since, as another user noted, VR is capable of providing feedback to at most two senses. I'm just not convinced that whatever increase in immersion it can provide is going to be enough to make people want to strap on a big 'ol pair of goggles tethered to a computer by a few feet of wire. It's inconvenient. It's expensive. And worst of all (for a lot of people) it looks incredibly silly. Something more in the vein of the hololens, I think, which doesn't require you to completely isolate yourself from the outside world, might have a better chance of success.

That's what I thought for a while too. I thought it was just a more immersive experience and that was that. I had to look beyond that a bit to see how much of an impact it has on your options, both as a developer and as a gamer, for a more interactive environment (and thus, changing A LOT about how gameplay is designed, and how games are enjoyed).

I'll leave you with this final example:

https://youtu.be/OFR7HsTTshI?t=1m1s

Ender910:

votemarvel:
There is a huge stepping stone that needs to be addressed and that is VR making you feel as if you are part of the world.

Just being able to see and hear the virtual world isn't enough. You need to be able to feel the ground beneath your feet, the texture of the object in your hand, the wind blowing through your hair.

Limiting the user to just two of their senses is not enough. Otherwise they are just going to feel like a ghost moving through the world, there but not truly a part of it.

There are some pretty feasible ways to simulate at least some degree of touch (at least with VR/Motion Controllers for your hands) by using haptic feedback on physics collisions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3hhIYr1f4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cH-AlBJi9Q

Still a little limited I'll grant you, but it's not quite as crude as "rumble" action.

I think that kind of stuff is one of the most important factors. Yes they can make you feel as if you are holding something but a tin can should not feel the same as a lump of firewood.

I've no doubt that they will be able to pull that sort of thing off, but then they encounter another problem which acts as a barrier to VR going mainstream. Will a person want to 'suit up' in order to play a game?

Can the items be taken off quickly? What if the person needs to make a dash to the toilet in a hurry for example.

I think VR is taking amazing steps forward but I feel it has a long way to go yet.

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