The Virtual Reality Market in 2015: Shaking Things Up

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

The Virtual Reality Market in 2015: Shaking Things Up

When even South Park is willing to take on the Oculus Rift, as it did in an episode not too long ago, it's clear that the mainstream is pretty well ready for virtual reality (VR). A recent look at the market from K Zero, meanwhile, suggests that this is a market that's really primed for growth, and in a big way. The report from K Zero suggests a market that will reach $7 billion just by 2018, and that's going to mean some very big changes.

Already the market is starting to get its big names lined up. Facebook and Oculus, of course, are right on the tip of the spear, if not the actual needle point itself. Sony and its Project Morpheus aren't far behind, and Microsoft's holography project may well chip in some gains on this front. But this isn't a console and PC development only; far from it. Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard are likewise primed for big growth, especially as the mobile gaming market makes significant inroads on the field as a whole. One thing is quite clear, though; there's no way that the VR genie is going back in the bottle. It may take a while, but this is going to be a gaming market and it's likely going to be a huge one in very, very rapid fashion.

So what does that mean for gaming? Well, I look for a lot more open world gaming, for one, and a lot more first-person open world gaming. Consider three titles, and see where you'd rate them in terms of VR play: “Skyrim”, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”, and “Madden NFL 15”. If you left that order alone, congratulations; you're not alone. The huge expanses of Tamriel make “Skyrim” the best for VR gaming, while “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” makes for a close second thanks to its first-person action, even if there's not so much wandering around. Meanwhile, the clearly third-person action of “Madden NFL 15” makes it less than effective in VR, but still worthwhile. First-person has the advantage here, and the broader the first-person action, the better.

Thus, in a VR world, clear advantage will go to games like “Dying Light” and “Mad Max,” as well as “Fallout 4,” assuming Bethesda ever gets off its collective rump and gets to putting it together. It's not that “Call of Duty” games will lose here, they'll simply be second-place. It's one thing to wander around a warehouse with a gun, it's another to wander around a vast frontier with that same gun.

But it won't just be huge worlds that take the pot, either; the mobile-based gaming platforms like Cardboard and Gear VR will themselves cry out for use. But we'll likely see Cardboard and Gear VR put to use in other ways. Augmented reality will likely be huge here, particularly when we can put the whole thing on our face and walk down the street, checking out the sights and getting information about same. That's big deal enough, but now imagine those sights with an overlay of monsters that you need to stare at to defeat, Scanners-style. Exciting? Sure it is.

There are a lot of opportunities inherent in VR, and we're likely to be seeing these very soon. This has a potential to make a very big market, and few are going to be interested in passing up a chance at getting a piece of said market.

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