Lately, a lot of the buzz in alternate reality entertainment has surrounded augmented reality (or AR), and with plenty of good reason. This is something mobile companies are delving into in a big way, and because of that it will probably be more available and impactful to a wider range of consumers than any VR tech to date.
Apple has introduced the ARKit development system to accompany its new iOS 11 operating system, and not to be left in the dark, Google recently showed off ARCore, its own version of the same tech. These platforms are meant to work with existing game and app design engines to create experiences that exist in AR. They’ll need only a compatible device’s screen and camera to work, such that virtual characters and settings will appear as if they exist in the real world. It’s all pretty exciting, even in the infant stages of both ARKit and ARCore.
With all of this going on, however, it’s almost easy to lose focus on virtual reality for the moment. VR is still the more immersive version of alternate reality, and makes for a more complete form of entertainment – even if the high-end headsets are still pricey and VR hasn’t exactly replaced traditional gaming the way some expected it might. It’s fair to say that developers are still getting used to VR, in a way, and that means we can say with a degree of certainty that the best games are yet to come.
But which of those games will be the ones to propel VR to new heights? We have a few ideas about that.
Open World Games – VR has been slow out of the gate in this most popular of gaming genres, but that’s about to change in a big way. A few games – most notably Fallout 4 and Skyrim – are on the cusp of exciting VR adaptations that should be among the boldest games we’ve seen yet. There’s actually a good deal of pessimism about these games, with one preview going as far as to say playing them is probably a bad idea. But unless they’re colossal failures, they’re probably going to start a trend. Developers will be determined to improve upon VR open worlds, which means we should see a boom in these titles in the next year or two.
Racing Games – There’s no exact way to determine what the “best” VR games are, but racing and piloting games are certainly among the most natural and most impressive. Some refer to these as cockpit games, in which the player need only sit still to enjoy a fast-moving experience, and it’s easy to see why it’s appealing in virtual reality. These games need only be refined and narrowed down to a few terrific titles for them to be among the true leaders in the VR sector.
Casinos – It doesn’t take much to imagine a fantastic poker or blackjack game in VR, but we’re betting the genre will go deeper than that – largely thanks to the evolution of mobile slot reels. There are dozens and dozens of developers in this space creating all kinds of different themes and animations to make slots more appealing. And all of that only stands to improve in VR. We could soon be seeing full casino worlds brought to life, with competitive card gaming and interactive slots. And with so many people adoring this particular type of gaming, such games could become some of the most popular on VR devices.
Building Games – Lastly, it stands to reason that building games, from realistic city simulators to pixelated world builders, are going to have a place in VR’s future. Minecraft has been among the earliest titles demonstrated both for VR and AR devices, and is already among the world’s most popular games. VR is going to give us the chance to experience these kinds of games in a more realistic and mind-warping manner than ever before. We’ll actually be able to enlarge creations and “walk” among the buildings we create.