Spector On VR: “If Someone’s Sneaking Up Behind Me With A Baseball Bat, I Want To Know About It”

Mad Donna's gonna git ya

Yeah, I should probably have gone with the “VR is a fad” quote that everyone else is using, because it’s the ooh, contentious bit and it would fit into one line in our headline box, but c’mon, this one’s much more fun. But yes, Warren Spector, he of various Deus Exes and Thiefses, has (unknowingly) sided with John in the great virtual reality opinion wars of 2015. They’re both dangerously wrong of course, but more importantly he’s excited about Cuphead.

Chatting to GamesIndustry.biz at E3, Spector’s facebox negativity was based around fairly familiar virtual reality denier lines. “I don’t think most humans want to look stupid… and they don’t want to to isolate themselves from the world.” That’s where the baseball line above comes in. Not a threat I face on a regular basis to be honest, but maybe life’s different and far more dangerous when you’re a famous game designer. “And let’s not talk about nausea,” he adds.

Actually, yes, let’s talk about nausea. It was a very real problem in the first Oculus prototype, it was significantly reduced in the second one, and I didn’t suffer from any in my admittedly brief time with an HTC/Valve Vive. It seems reckless to use something that’s clearly being tackled determinedly as even a partial reason to dismiss the whole tech. As for looking stupid, well, given I look like a zoned-out hunchback and can barely communicate when playing a ‘normal’ game – artist’s impression:

– I guess I’m not particularly bothered about looking a bit more dorky in a facebox. Hell, at least when I’m in one of those I don’t have to see the scornful looks my partner or a baseball bat-wielding invader gives me for pretending to Batman or whoever.

The telling line is perhaps “I worked on a couple of games that supported available VR headsets back in the ’90s and I was really jazzed about it. Now, I’m kind of over it.” It’s, uh, pretty different now. Honestly, I have no idea if it’ll take off or not, because cost and convenience are big issues, but unlike the irritating futility of 3D TVs and unlike the migraine-inducing horrors of early VR, a good VR experience is a genuinely meaningfully new experience, and it at least has a shot at going somewhere.

Spector doesn’t totally dismiss the tech, however, reasoning that “”I see amazing possibilities in VR for social media and virtual meetings and training and crazy stuff like dealing with phobias. But for entertainment? I’m just not seeing it.”

I’m biased. I’m a believer and I’ve spent a lot of time using VR (though I’m currently without a headset as I sold my Oculus DK2 to fund whatever gets released next from Valve or Oculus). As a lifelong PC gamer I’m also already well-accustomed to game-playing being a gigantic hassle, so I’m not particularly worried about complexity or foolishness.

VR’s not the future, but it’s a future, and I’m pretty confident that a part of the game industry which already supports any number of ridiculous hardware configurations (hello triple SLI, I mean for God’s sakes) will find plenty of profitable (both financially and creatively) space for it. I played hours of Elite Dangerous and Alien Isolation on my DK2, and physical discomfort rather than impracticality or self-consciousness was the only issue – stuff that I believe can be ironed out over time, even if that time is not quite yet. Taking over the living room seems far less likely, however.

Spector’s much more positive about AR games, however. “That seems pretty exciting. There’s some potential there. Even the low-hanging fruit of AR gaming seems compelling.”

Then there’s Cuphead. CUPHEAD. “The game that really got my shorts in a knot was Cuphead. It may just be that I’m a total classic animation geek, but that game looked phenomenal. I’m not usually a graphics first guy, but I’ll make an exception for that one. Can’t wait to play it.” Unsurprising, given his love of classic Disney, and one wonders if perhaps this is the game he should have made instead of Epic Mickey.

The really big question out of all this, of course, is why do people keep sneaking up on Warren Spector with a baseball bat? Is it some Looking Glass fan who still can’t get over Invisible War?

90 Comments

  1. Turin Turambar says:

    I suppose I should never played immersive games like Thief, System Shock or Deus Ex, you know, games I played in a darkened room and with big headphones put, as that setup leaves me clearly vulnerable to thieves with baseball bats.

    • jkostans says:

      A quote from an Underworld Ascendant kickstarter update:

      “Many of you have been asking about VR for Underworld Ascendant. On our forum survey, over 40% say they have extremely strong or strong interest in this technology. That’s higher than we’d anticipated, especially considering the limited availability of VR these days.”

      Warren Spector is on the dev team…….

  2. kyrieee says:

    The future already snuck up on you Spector, knocked you out cold and took all your good design ideas. No we’re just waiting for you to wake up.

  3. Sakkura says:

    I’m glad to see not all the RPS staff are just rejecting VR out of hand. As you say, there are issues and challenges, but there’s also meaningful new experiences in VR.

    As for AR gaming, it would probably cater more to the “casual” games, but in the long run I can see that gaining much more traction in the general public. VR is probably the more “nerdy” thing.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      VR is for nerds the same way home computers were for nerds right up until the mid 90s, when they became boringly mainstream. Of course early adopters will be the type of people who already own high-end gaming PCs. But it’s not a coincidence that a huge amount of popular science fiction features virtual reality; it’s a very attractive idea.

      It took personal computers about 20 years to catch on, from the Apple I to the post-internet boom. I’m guessing VR develops a bit faster. Give it 5-10 years and see what happens.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        True but most of the SF skips the FaceRift stage and goes straight to some sort of direct neural stimulation. I don’t see it doing mainstream until we’ve got past the strapping a box to your head stage but that doesn’t preclude a substantial niche.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        The internet was once only for nerds too, before you lot came along and ruined it.

      • P.Funk says:

        Comparing a peripheral to an entire system that is composed of peripherals, software suites, hierarchies of software in fact that rely on one another, is a bit bold don’t you think?

        Its also spurious logic. You could make that claim for anything except that when computers were new most intelligent people saw the value and it was a value that was so wide ranging that comparing it to VR entertainment is pretty silly. Spector is himself only commenting on entertainment, not on the entire VR concept so really its more on the scale of the “computers will replace books entirely” thing when its really only obsolesced CDs.

        I see this argument all the time with VR in fact. I could just as easily point at the relatively unchanging nature of the core peripherals on the PC, the keyboard and mouse.

    • Reapy says:

      Adam and Jim still holding it down for us old school gamers on the site that “get it”.

  4. Chaz says:

    Well poo poo to the poo pooers, I’m really looking forward to VR.

  5. Kitsunin says:

    Honestly, I’d prefer someone sneak up behind me and crack the back of my skull while I’m using a headset than smash my face in while I’m sleeping. Yet another pro for using VR!

    • snowgim says:

      Also, if you look at the design of the consumer Rift, it offers some good protection to the back of your head. I’d wager you’d survive a blow with a baseball bat with a rift on far better than with an unprotected skull.

      Now there’s the possibility of baseball bat attacks while gaming, I may have to buy a consumer rift solely as a precaution.

  6. Blackcompany says:

    Just because VR isn’t for some doesnt mean it will not have an audience. Frankly I dont see myself using it. At least not until it becomes a pair of goggles or glasses. In its current form it looks like a device made to reshape a skull as opposed to entertain.

    And then of course there is the concern Mr. Spector expresses here. I have two cats. I live in an area prone to severe storms in the summer. Friends drop by or call on the phone. When home alone I simply cannot be oblivious to the world around me to the degree VR requires. And being that way just because my girlfriend is home turns her into some kind of babysitter, which is all sorts of awkward.

    So yeah…maybe down the road, when miniaturization has worked its magic on the tech and I dont have to choose between wearing a VR helmet and being able to escape a fire before its too late. But this generation? no thanks, not for me.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I wonder if there’s some sort of technological fix that would make it less dangerous to be sealed off from the world. Still, you could feel an earthquake, and if there were a fire, couldn’t you smell it before you’d hear anything? It’s not really any more dangerous than wearing headphones.

      Actually, if you had a device which could be worn in a non-noise-cancelling fashion, you might lose some immersion, but the danger would be completely gone.

      • jrodman says:

        I find I frequently misdiagnose earthquakes even without VR. Though I suppose a life-threatening one might be clearer.

    • abeeken says:

      I think that’s a very valid point and it’s easy to forget when people say “VR is going to flop” that it doesn’t mean the hardware is terrible or that there won’t be an audience.

      Take 3DTV’s. I have a 3DTV. I purposefully bought it for the 3D element and it is something that I do enjoy using. Watching a good film in 3D in the right environment can be a rewarding experience, however I don’t argue that 3D as a home technology hasn’t flopped. I do find it frustrating, however – in a cinema I prefer to see a film in 2D because I can’t control the environment to ensure a rewarding 3D experience; case in point, when I saw the last Avengers the showtimes were so restrictive that I had to see it in 3D, but then spent the entire film trying to position myself so that the security lights in the aisle didn’t reflect in my glasses. At home I can turn down the lights, position myself just right and enjoy the film.

      For VR the time I’ve spent with it has been less than enjoyable and it’s not an experience I want at home. Personally I do think it will flop but, like 3D, I think it’ll find a home with certain people. I do wonder, however, how sustainable it will be in this fickle industry. 3D keeps going to a degree because distributors still put out 3D films in the cinema and Blu-Ray as a technology can support their transfer to disc (I still don’t understand why some companies feel the need to add a 3D surcharge to discs when some deliver 3D/2D versions as standard) and it seems that most 4K TV sets come with 3D built in as standard. I feel it’s going to be a technology that just exists and, if people want to use it they can. With VR I’m not so sure that people will continue to build what is additional technology and support it for only a niche audience if it is seen as “extra” to their standard tech – case in point, Kinect. Great tech, not so great in practice, didn’t find its mainstream audience and is now being phased out.

      • Sarracenae says:

        The problem with any niche product if that’s what VR becomes, is that it will need serious development time to implement in any game. That just won’t happen if it’s niche, just look at kinect, it’s dead as a dodo now, as developers just are not bothering to develop titles for it. For me developing for VR will be just as specific as kinect right from the design process up.

        • abeeken says:

          I do think that VR has at least some application outside of home entertainment media, however. How other industries and sectors use it will be interesting to watch but, for the average home user, it will be too expensive and too cumbersome to be seen as a viable alternative to sitting in front of their TV. I have no issue with enthusiasts, but I think they should tread with cautious optimism rather than blithely declaring it the second coming of home videogame entertainment.

    • vlonk says:

      Been there done that Blackcompany! All you need is a webcam plugin for your in-room and house surveillance of the catlateral damage that is going on, a weather alert app and a plugin that auto-pauses/shows you in the game when a phone call is coming in. See, all your troubles handled in the top right hud notification bar. You all clearly never played a Rigger in a well done Shadowrun RP did you? The answer is and always will be to put MORE technology up to solve your disconnect from the real world…

  7. Eddy9000 says:

    I think the thing holding vr back has been that it’s been single mindedly developed towards the goal of complete first person immersion without thinking about whether that’s possible or desirable. Microsoft seem to have gone with the more feasible approach with their AR goggles, Playing xcom in 3d on your coffee table or turning your living room into a wee little platform game would be ace.

    • Clavus says:

      the goal of complete first person immersion without thinking about whether that’s possible or desirable

      People tried it. It is very much desirable.

      The one thing I dislike about the messaging surrounding VR at the moment is that the majority of people haven’t actually tried the state-of-the-art of VR tech yet, so there’s a lot of scepticism. There are few people not seeing the potential after actually trying it.

      • The_invalid says:

        “The one thing I dislike about the messaging surrounding VR at the moment is that the majority of people haven’t actually tried the state-of-the-art of VR tech yet, so there’s a lot of scepticism.”

        Of course, and that’s an inherent hurdle for VR, because it’s the sort of experience that’s impossible to convey properly without trying it. Resultantly all the excitement and evangelism surrounding it can start to feel like empty hyperbole. When all an audience has to go on was their previous experiences of VR (generally not good once the novelty wears off), I personally feel that it’s perfectly reasonable to be skeptical in the face of that.

        VR has flopped multiple times before. It’s currently still uncertain whether Oculus, HTC, or any of the other also-rans in the race have managed to work around current VR’s inherent problems such as eyestrain, input latency or motion sickness. There have been reports in the press that the Rift CV1 hasn’t really fixed these issues. For a lot of people, myself included, that is an absolute dealbreaker and very few people have any way of knowing until they’ve tried the device. Drumming up your entire PR on the basis of ‘trust us, this is the future’ is always going to be a damn risky proposition.

      • silentdan says:

        People tried it. It is very much desirable.

        Yes and no. It’s not clear how much of the desire is born of novelty. We’ve seen this before. The Wii gets a lot of hype, so Sony and MS jump on board, not wanting to be left behind. Then the Wii falters, Sony wisely ditches its motion controls, Microsoft foolishly doubles down. These days, not much is happening with motion controls, even though ten years ago, I was given staunch assurances that people tried motion controls, and determined it to be very much desirable (and then shortly afterwards, not desirable at all.)

        Only time will tell if this is a fair comparison, but the parallels are hard to dismiss at this point.

        • P.Funk says:

          You very astutely have pointed out the one thing most people don’t consider, their own fallible perceptions.

        • saluk says:

          VR keeps coming back. It keeps coming back not because people want to make money, but because people like Palmer Luckey want it to exist. It never really left, it just keeps going in and out of focus. In the 90’s, virtual boy, with the wii/kinect motion controls, and even things like Star Tours are applicable I would say.

          Bad ideas that no one wants don’t tend to stick around.

          The major problem with VR though is that it is kind of all or nothing. We have settled on buttons and screens, a very abstract input system and output system to control and look into our very abstract worlds. We pretend we are doing amazing actions, and pretend that the world inside the game is real. Anytime you move away from those abstractions, to a system that is supposed to feel or look real, like you are really a part of the action, the differences between what you are trying to model and what you are actually able to do stand out.

          The Wii/Kinect are like this. They keep the weird flat screen representation of the world, and yet expect us to jump around and wave our arms. They worked for their time, but without feeling like you are really in a different place, the extra work to control those inputs doesn’t make sense.

          3d movies are the same problem. Now it looks like there is a space beyond the screen – but you are unable to actually look around in that space, you are unable to interact with it, and in most cases, the effect doesn’t even seem very realistic anyway. At the movies, where once you could pretend you are looking at a real person in some other world, you now see this giant 3d head talking at you.

          VR is going to happen sooner or later, or it would have faded to memory rather than always kind of being there on the fringes somewhere. But it has to make sense altogether – little pieces of it that don’t work that well just make you notice how the abstraction breaks down.

  8. Sarracenae says:

    The problem with VR is I just can’t see how it can possibly work on PC with mouse and keyboard controls.

    Therefore you are either going to have to use a controller, flight stick, wheel etc. So how many PC players of for example FPS will swap their mouse and keyboard for a controller + VR headset?

    It makes far more sense for console gamers who have long ago accepted their inferior form of control however, many PC gamers specifically stick with PC because of their dislike of controllers.

    This of course is all before the issues with using glasses, being heavy and tiring to use etc etc.

    Call me skeptical.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It can work with M&K, and I played a bunch like that, but you’ve got to know your keyboard very well, which is a tall order.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        But we’re talking about the sort of person who has firm ideas about the superiority of M&K surely they should be able to WASD without looking or thinking?

      • Shadow says:

        WASD is obviously easy to locate, but imagine you’re playing Elite Dangerous or a more complex flight simulator like IL-2 Sturmovik, where VR would really shine? You need to remain abreast of far more than four keys.

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          For complex flight sims you probably want a HOTAS stick/throttle combo anyway. And if you can afford VR, you can probably afford that, too.

        • Barberetti says:

          My cousin has been playing Elite for months with a Rift, using a combo of keyboard, mouse, stick & throttle with no problems. And that’s someone who normally plays only driving sims. In fact, I think he has his footpedals as part of his flying setup as well.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Exactly, simulators need more keys, and some of them can weird to find through the muscle memory of the left hand – as they’re on the right (which would be operating the joystick or mouse).

        • snowgim says:

          I don’t see this being a problem for long. Precise hand tracking is getting pretty good, it wouldn’t be hard to implement a virtual keyboard in VR and line it up with your real keyboard.
          That might sound bit crazy but you can’t deny it would solve the problem. Could just be something that appears when you look down in vr and fades when you look somewhere else.

          I’ve played a bit of Elite in VR, but I have all my controls mapped to a gamepad, so I’ve never had that problem.

        • P.Funk says:

          Well firstly DCS offers the obvious solution of having every control you need in the actual cockpit usable by the mouse. Thats an obvious solution to complex games. Secondly Voice Attack has become very popular in E:D circles and its even validated as something thats being included in modern fighter jets apparently so that they don’t need to bother with what DCS does, which is the old fashioned 1980s way to fly an F-16 (yes they don’t have F-16s but most people know them and not A-10s which are still old fashioned even today).

          We can also consider things like those MMO mice with lots of buttons as well as gaming keyboards with macro buttons that are easy to find by feel. Human interface devices evolve as needed to solve problems. I personally think voice commands are the easiest and definitely very immersive while maybe the adventurous gamer could start making some kind of brail additions to his keyboard to mark a few more than 4 keys. Honestly with WASD I can use it as a pivot to find far more than 4 keys. The entire concept of touch typing validates the notion that a fixed hand position can allow you to find many keys with muscle memory. With WASD I can easily find R, E, Q, F, C, Space, Tab, Shift, Ctrl, etc etc.

        • Apocalypse says:

          In Elite I do not touch my keyboard at all ;-)

      • Sarfrin says:

        I don’t come here expecting subjectivity, this is the BBC! Oh wait, my mistake.

    • DiTH says:

      Exactly what i think about VR. Until a way is found to read your mind you can never achieve full immersion. And since you cant achieve full immersion whats the point of having a VR trying to achieve that. The controls will always be the reality check until that happens.

      • P.Funk says:

        I hardly agree. Human beings have tremendous ability to make believe. Imperfect immersion can still be imperfectly immersive.

    • bobbyk says:

      There’s also the Oculus Touch, a revolutionary VR controller that allows convincing hand interaction and additional functions

    • Noam Beefheart says:

      “…many PC gamers specifically stick with PC because of their dislike of controllers.”

      I like kb/m because of its precision but after a while my wrists are usually killing me, so I prefer a gamepad. That said, I’m really not looking forward to vr.

  9. Turkey says:

    I don’t think VR and AR is going to be used primarily as gaming devices either. It’s not really about the limits of the technology, but the way the gaming industry is set up right now. 3rd party publishers aren’t going to make big AAA games just for one device or platform, so that leaves us with a few 1st party efforts, some indie games, and a handful of bad Ubisoft games. Not really seeing a huge adaption rate for that.

    Don’t get me wrong. People are going to play games using these things, but it’s more likely they’re going to spread as creative tools used for design, science and education( and porn and some creepy Second Life thing.)

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Star Citizen, Elite, No Man’s Sky, EVE Valkyrie, Alien Isolation & Dirt Rally off the top of my head…

      Developer support may wane if it fails to take off in a big way, though. I’d say it’s going to be a case of consumers at least initially ought to look at the current supporting catalogue and assess whether it’s worth it to them based on that.

    • Shuck says:

      Outside some AAA games where VR has obvious benefits (driving/flying games), I think you’re right there. I’m not so sure about how much appeal it would have even for indies, though. There will be the first wave of games to get a sales boost from being the only games out there designed around VR (and so everyone with VR will buy them), but after that, such games will mostly just be limiting their potential player base by focusing on VR. Given the competition that now exists in the indie game space, that may not be too financially appealing. That is: everyone, AAA and indie alike, are really looking for the biggest possible audience just to get enough sales to break even, so no one is really in a position to limit their market by designing their games around the limited market of players with VR devices (this is doubly true for new input devices).

      • saluk says:

        Actually the competition in the general marketplace for indies can make niche targets very appealing on a case by case basis. If there is a healthy enough VR market (it’s nowhere near there yet) you might do better being the big guy in a small pond than yet another little guy in a humongous one.

  10. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    The really big question out of all this, of course, is why do people keep sneaking up on Warren Spector with a baseball bat? Is it some Looking Glass fan who still can’t get over Invisible War?

    Got 2 words for ya:
    Epic.
    Mickey.

    Anyway, what makes me worried for the future of VR is simply the need for hardware that can push >1080p picture at 90FPS without a hitch. I am yet to see a PC that can do it IRL (in a complex AAA game, not some simplistic indie thing). The cost of such a rig will DWARF whatever the headset itself may cost.

  11. SooSiaal says:

    What a surprise,mr Microsoft is more excited about their AR then someone else’s VR…

  12. Not_Id says:

    VR just needs one game for it to become accepted by the masses, and so far I’ve seen nothing that has that kind of pull.
    So maybe Facebook bought Oculus because they wanted to invest two billion in a niche product.

    • Didero says:

      Ooh, maybe it was all just a misunderstanding!

      Zuckerberg: “I want to buy an Oculus”
      Acquisitions team: “On it!”

  13. libdab says:

    Duh! Even if you’re playing an FPS without VR, you don’t know about the guy behind you with the baseball bat, do you? At least with VR there’ll be a more intuitive way to check (i.e. move your head).

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Duh! Even if you’re playing an FPS without VR, you don’t know about the guy behind you with the baseball bat, do you?

      Tell that to the intricate system of mirrors in my room and a backwards-facing sawn-off rigged into my computer chair!

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Hah, very nice!

    • Horg says:

      ‘At least with VR there’ll be a more intuitive way to check (i.e. move your head).”

      Won’t do you any good, he’s always behind you.

  14. xfstef says:

    “I’m biased.” – Then why did you write this ? If you hate the media hyping up games and thus leading to undeserved preorders then you surely should have known better when it comes to VR.

  15. Low Life says:

    Why did a game he liked get his shorts in a knot? Isn’t that just a more woody way of saying knickers in a twist, i.e. getting upset over something?

  16. Blaaaaaaag says:

    Why are Americans so paranoid? If you’re home alone and you’re going to stick your face into your VR HMD, and you have so many enemies that there’s a real risk of being murdered in your home, then lock your door. Also, you have bigger problems than a VR headset. Watcha gonna do when it’s time to go to sleep, Mr. Spector? Or will sleep never catch on, since, well, y’know, it’s so easy to be murdered in your sleep? Sleep is a fad!

    • prof_yaffle says:

      Sleep certainly is a fad. I tried it in the nineties and it was rubbish.

      Maybe the technology has improved since then, but I don’t really see it taking off.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Obviously the American solution to this problem is to mount a motion sensor and a gun into the back of every VR headset – that way people are safer.

  17. drinniol says:

    Oh, Warren. Lots of people play games for the express purpose of isolating themselves from the world and forgetting their troubles, and plenty of people must want to look stupid. What, with their skinny jeans and trucker caps and thick-rimmed glasses and GET OFF MY LAWN YOU HIPSTERS!

  18. Farsi Murdle says:

    Get real people, of course it’s a fad. John’s article the other day was right on.

    If a new technology is going to take off, it actually has to *do* something that a lot of people find useful. Motion controls were big for a short time because it was ~new~ and interesting, then everyone realised the games were shit and preferred to play some non shit games instead. Now the Wii U is a laughable failure and Microsoft’s plain forgotten about Kinect. Remember Sony’s PS3 dildo controls? Neither does Sony. VR will be the same. It’ll be new and interesting and people will ooh and aah about the virtual environments, and then they’ll get bored and go back to playing good games again. Maybe you’ll get the rare niche genre that’s actually suited to VR, like space sims, but even there I can enjoy those games without the absurd hindrance of a goddamn helmet on my face.

    I can’t believe Palmer Luckey is actually talking about the “metaverse” as though it’s 1995 again. Jesus Christ. You know the last time people were jerking themselves off about the metaverse? 2006, when Second Life was going to be the ~future of human communication~ and other ridiculous bullshit. Get real.

    Add to that the fact that someone will literally die from this when they trip over and hit their head and you’ve got a straight up farce on your hands.

    • DD says:

      God I love these comments. It’s like some sort of self defense against future disappointment. Have you actually used a Rift? No. Because if you had then you wouldn’t be comparing it to PS Move, Wii, or Kinect. Those are definitely a novelty. You can tell within the first few minutes of wonky motion tracking.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      People are amazing at killing themselves, they’ve already managed this just playing mouse and keyboard games. I agree about the niche application of current VR tech, the rift is perfect for any game where you’re sitting in a chair operating a machine but doesn’t make much sense for most other genres. It’ll have an important niche sort of similar to what joysticks had in the 90s at the height of flight sim popularity (and joystick sales will definitely benefit from VR for a while).

    • saluk says:

      And yet, here we are again, someone new trying this apparently failed technology that no one wants. Why?

  19. CookPassBabtridge says:

    DK2 owner since August 2014 finds bizarre trick to foil VR head batters.

    Lock front door.

  20. bit.bat says:

    I think that one of the challenges of VR is the willingness of people to engage more of their bodies in the game playing experience. This isn’t some kind of comment on the laziness of gamers, more that gaming is very generally considered a physically undemanding (but mentally taxing, sometimes) experience. Maybe this is because of how it has been traditionally rather than an inherent quality of this type of activity though.

  21. Ross Angus says:

    It’s not a baseball bat. It’s a blackjack, you taffer.

  22. Gap Gen says:

    Guys, guys guys. It’s simple. We kill the bat man.

  23. ScubaMonster says:

    One thing I’ve wondered about VR, as time goes on and it becomes more realistic, what its affect on a person’s mental state would be. Like if you’re playing an extremely scary or brutal game in realistic VR, how that would affect the psyche. Could you develop some form of PTSD? Would the argument of video games affecting behavior actually become a measurable reality? Would someone who constantly loses themselves in VR worlds, would their perception of real life start to warp? Might seem like a bunch of crazy ideas and questions, but I’ll be genuinely curious to see how this plays out if VR advances and isn’t merely a fad.

    • silentdan says:

      PTSD is highly unlikely. Soldiers who watch friends get torn apart by explosives or themselves lose limbs, can’t take off their hat and get their friends/legs back. If they could, they’d probably just do that. No matter how cool the hat is, it’s not worth PTSD. That shit really sucks.

      If a video game ever makes you contemplate suicide, spousal/child/drug abuse, or any of the other horrible symptoms of PTSD, it’s not the game, it’s not the hardware, it’s an illness, and you should seek medical help immediately.

      VR is neat and everything, but let’s keep this in perspective: it does depth perception and head tracking. That’s pretty much it. It doesn’t let you feel tactile sensations on your skin (porn would never be the same) it doesn’t let you smell anything (tour a greenhouse without my allergies nearly killing me, yes please!) it doesn’t affect your inner ear (I wouldn’t crash nearly so much on take-off if I could actually *feel* how the aircraft is moving) and so on. It’s an incremental, not final, step towards more immersive entertainment.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Skabooga says:

    Can we all just take a moment to admire the header image? Beautiful.

  25. draglikepull says:

    The baseball bat thing is just a joke to get at what is a real problem with VR – it’s going to be difficult to convince a mass market to put on a headset and headphones and block out the world around them. This is especially true for anyone who shares their living/gaming space with pets, kids, or other family. I think a lot of proponents of VR are under-estimating just how fundamentally *weird* that’s going to seem to most people.

    That doesn’t mean that nobody will buy it, and it doesn’t mean that you personally won’t find the experience pretty enjoyable. But I very strongly suspect it does mean that it will never reach mass market saturation in the way that general console or PC gaming have.

    • silentdan says:

      Agreed. If my cat’s food dish is empty, and I ignore him for more than half an hour, he gets all bite-y about it. Not the kind of jump scare I’m looking for.

    • svendelmaus says:

      Many of these criticisms could have (and, I believe, were) levelled at the Sony Walkman, and I believe that it did all right…

      • draglikepull says:

        The Walkman didn’t block your vision, and who listened to a Walkman in their living room?

  26. Jakob91 says:

    If someone is concern about how he may look while gaming in his own house, he might have greater issues than any sickness vr could provide. Point is, you don’t look any better while your eyes are fixed on a LCD monitor for hours and unless you’re from a very poor district in the States without a lock on your main door mr Spector, you shouldn’t worry too much about the baseball bat. I’m a racing/flying sim enthusiast and can’t wait for the commercial version of the Vive and others.

  27. hungrycookpot says:

    I won’t make any bones about it, I’m in the camp that thinks that VR isn’t ready yet for gaming primetime. Little to do with this really, just a thought I’ve been having, but I read a story on Reddit a week or two ago that stuck with me, it was in a thread like “people who have killed someone, how and why and does it still bother you?”

    Buddy was playing C&C with big headphones on, heard his wife yell and came down to find a man who was 10 minutes into raping her and was then going to rape and kill his infant daughter. Luckily managed to sneak up and shoot him to death. I’ve been thinking about that story since the VR talk at E3, and maybe I’m just paranoid, but I don’t wanna be that guy.

  28. RagingLion says:

    I highly recommend what another aged gaming legend thinks: Lorne Lanning. Check out Giant Bomb’s E3 day 3 interviews (link to youtube.com particularly 3:17:30 onwards) for what he had to say which includes his perspective from having seen good VR tech back in the 80s when he worked for an aeronautical engineering company. Lorne seems to have a lot of wisdom on these things and provides some good reasoning for why he also seems to think VR will very soon have its day.

    The number of people who’ve had basically ‘religious’ experiences when using VR is what does it for me. That’s happened too many times for this just to go away or end up on the future forgotten tech dumpyard.

  29. Emeraude says:

    I don’t know, I haven’t tried the latest iterations, but from last year’s testing, I’m still thinking this will fit a *very* nice niche, but unless they manage to make tremendous advances on UI and game design to fit the display, I can’t see it being anything more.

    So far, and it may be a weird comparison, I have with it the same issue I had with the DS touch screen: with games that fully uses what it brings, I see it being great. Overall, I find it’s fairly inconvenient and inefficient though and I’d rather be on a screen.

    We’ll see how it develops I guess.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Talking to a computer makes you look silly (hey, Cortana!). Wearing a facehugger is ok in comparison.

  31. Apocalypse says:

    “It’s weird, I worked on a couple of games that supported available VR headsets back in the ’90s and I was really jazzed about it. Now, I’m kind of over it.

    AR, on the other hand – that seems pretty exciting. There’s some potential there. Even the low-hanging fruit of AR gaming seems compelling. Bring on the AR.”

    Sums it up pretty much for me.
    Not that I am not going to be excited about VR, but I am a sim player, so I can work with VR in a totally different way than most other gamers.

    And spector did some amazing stuff with VR, he might be one of the guys in the industry with the most experience about developing games with VR in mind.