The advent of Virtual Reality or VR is one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. Virtual reality has unlocked the door to a world where the line between fiction and reality is blurred. While the scope of VR goes beyond gaming, it was undeniably a major turning point for the gaming industry. VR based games have been in existence for years, but the underlining technology is still at a nascent stage. In fact, VR is yet to become mainstream primary due to the hardware requirements it has. Another major area of concern is that people are not comfortable with VR headsets and other wearable devices. However, VR has the potential to change the world of gaming as we know it. And, with smartphones now offering the same specifications as PCs, VR gaming has become accessible to a wider population.
Experience gaming like never before
To begin with, VR provides players with a much-improved gaming experience by allowing them to become a part of the game itself. Instead of being bystanders, they can actively participate in all the actions. Of course, flat-screen games evoke some emotions in the mind of players, VR-enabled games enable them to experience deep emotions as if the events were happening for real. In addition to increased engagement, VR offers an opportunity to immerse into another reality through a simulated environment, freedom of movement, tactile controls and the ability to have a 360-degree view. The concept reminds us of the famous sci-fi movie Matrix. Integration of VR has also made it possible for game developers to achieve a level of perfection that was only imaginable earlier.
Challenges to tackle: What stops VR gaming from reaching its true potential?
Despite the advancements made, VR has failed to live up to the initial hype. Especially, in the last couple of years, we haven’t witnessed significant progress in this area. There are multiple reasons behind this, the most prominent of which is the cost of VR hardware. Difficult to set up without some professional guidance, VR devices are expensive and often beyond the reach of a common consumer. Even we take the example of the most popular VR headsets, they still require high-end PCs to run seamlessly. Moreover, the existing VR games are not par with customer expectations. And, these games usually do not allow for too much movement.
VR headsets are becoming increasingly advanced, to the delight of both professional and amateur gamers. At the same time, companies are trying to reduce the price of VR headsets, making them accessible to more number of people. Additionally, there are a handful of small developers who are creating feature-rich games that can be played in VR. Not only VR, other similar technologies like AR (augmented reality) is also making waves in the gaming space. With tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple leading the way, it’s safe to say that virtual reality will dominate the future of online gaming.
The scope of VR in the Indian gaming industry
The Indian online gaming industry is currently witnessing rapid growth, with a number of domestic and international players investing heavily in it. According to a recent KPMG report, the industry is expected to have a market value of billion USD by 2021. Driven by factors such as increased usage of smartphones, cheap availability of data and influence of global trends, the mobile gaming segment, in particular, is likely to grow manifold in the upcoming years. While the made-in-India games are mostly designed keeping in mind the unique challenges of the Indian market, some of the leading game developers are now integrating advanced technologies like AI and VR to offer a world-class gaming experience. As India continues its journey to become as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it’s expected that the virtual reality movement will soon pick up its pace here too.
The author is Founder and CTO, Gameskraft