Couple of years ago, okay, maybe ten years ago, we had a chat about VR gaming and why there were no decent HUDs available. This was years before Oculus Rift was even a thing, let alone before the Zuck bought it for two billion dollars.
It seems the day is getting close now when consumer grade VR gaming will be in our lounge rooms. Ben Grubb and Tim Biggs platyed with Sony's headset and wrote up a nice report for the Herald today. There's still issues, espcially with fitting the device, doubly so for people with less than perfect vision, but the interface seems to be almost good to go and the UX is compelling.
I had so much fun playing the demo of London Heist Getaway — it's a completely different way of playing a video game that got the adrenaline pumping. The two Move controllers become your left and right hands and can be used to pick things up in the car you're travelling in (in the passenger's seat of course).
Apart from throwing things at the driver, you can reload your gun with magazines and then shoot at your opponents using the gun. It felt liberating to play this game without being confined to a PlayStation controller. I could freely move my hands around (looking ridiculous to the real world). I'm hoping that other controllers come out in the future that make the game feel even more real.
I wonder though whether this will remain a niche product, simply because of safety problems and simple friction. It's obvious from reading the review that you rerally are completely cut off from the real world. A simple coffee table in your gaming space could end up being stupidly hazardous while you navigate the battlepace in something like COD or MW. If you have to fit the headset and move furniture around, it sounds like it could be even worse than the 3DTV debacle.
On the other hand, sit down games, like flight sims, mech sims and driving titles seem well suited to the UI. Running and gunning not so much. That wouldn't bother me, because I'm not much a shooter. But I wonder how a hybrid like GTA would go. There's a lot of driving in that series, but also a lot of walking and running and moving through complex urban spaces. Could be great. Could be awful.
Ben told me via Twitter this moring that there digital fencing systems on the way, to define a safe area in which you can move around. But how many people have that much clear space in their lounge rooms. (Strangely enough, I do. But I'd guess most don't.)