Bad news for the future of VR gaming.
It looks like everyone’s voicing their growing disinterest and abandonment of VR gaming, despite Valve shocking the gaming industry and the world last week by announcing Half-Life Alyx, a full-fledged major VR game and the iconic franchise’s official return since 2004’s Half-Life 2.
CD Projekt Red recently called VR gaming “extremely nichey niche” and confirmed that they won’t be developing anything VR-related in the near future. Now, Xbox is following suit, with Microsoft gaming vice president Phil Spencer confirming that the next-gen Xbox Scarlett will largely ignore VR gaming.
According to Spencer, the reason for that is simple: There is no demand for VR gaming.
In an interview with Stevivor at X019 London, Spencer said:
“We’re responding to what our customers are asking for and… nobody’s asking for VR.
The vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there’s places to go get those.
We see the volumes of those on PC and other places.”
He also said that the biggest problem with VR is its emphasis on isolating experiences in a time when gaming as a whole is becoming increasingly more inclusive and multiplayer-focused.
“I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience.”
Spencer further acknowledged that part of Microsoft’s decision also lies on the fact that “nobody’s selling millions and millions” of VR units. However, he doesn’t count out a return to VR in the far-flung future.
“I think we might get there [eventually].
But yeah, that’s not where our focus is.”
There you have it, folks. The only major gaming brand currently still focusing on VR is Sony’s PlayStation with its PlayStation VR, though we still don’t know if the same will still hold true when the PS5 releases.
With many of the big wigs in the games industry already leaving VR gaming in the dust for now, what hope or significance does VR gaming have in the near future? Is Valve’s Half-Life Alyx enough to revitalize the VR gaming industry? We’ll have to wait and see because right now it all seems to still be a gimmick.