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HD Report | August 21, 2017

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VR Gaming is Still too Expensive to Succeed

VR Gaming is Still too Expensive to Succeed
Matthew Byrd

Ps VR

There are many people who don’t like virtual reality gaming for many valid reasons.

Some people simply don’t get it. Whatever it is that virtual reality has to offer just doesn’t click with them. Others just aren’t that impressed with virtual reality games. They see them as overly-simplistic tech demos that don’t offer much in the way of actual gameplay. Then you just have the people who can’t play VR without getting motion sickness. Needless to say, that’s a very valid reason.

The strangest subgroup of VR doubters, however, are the people that haven’t even played a VR game yet. How can you hate something that you’ve never even tried? Well, for many of these gamers ,their dislike stems from the fact that they can’t afford to play VR so they instead decide to come up with a reason it’s not for them.

It may sound strange, but to be honest, the gamers in this camp kind of have a good point.

Virtual reality gaming is an incredibly expensive hobby. The absolute cheapest VR set you can get right now is PlayStation VR which retails for $399, and that doesn’t include the price of the PlayStation 4 itself. Of course, if you want the absolute best VR experience, you’ll need to move over to PC and get an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. The problem is that playing VR on that platform is going to set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 when you account for the cost of the computer itself.

What do you get for your money? Sadly, the best answer to that question is still “The chance to play in virtual reality.” The vast majority of VR games on the market are indeed simplistic little titles designed to showcase the potential of your expensive new virtual reality device. They offer an amusing little diversion that is usually best experienced with friends, but usually very little in way of replay value.

There’s that word again. Value. As painful as it is to talk about something as innovative and amusing as virtual reality in terms of dollars and cents, the fact remains that the vast majority of gamers have some kind of budget to consider and the cost of VR requires them to stretch it to unrealistic lengths.

This has been noted before, but the real problem now is that we actually do have VR games which offer something more than a casual distraction. Titles like Resident Evil 7, Superhot, and Rez offer full – or close to full – gaming experiences that really are either enhanced by or only possible in virtual reality. These are the games that make VR seem like more than a novelty.

And yet, none of them really make VR seem worth it to those who haven’t already committed to the technology. That’s a huge problem because it means that VR’s current price tag might never be justified by the quality of virtual reality games.

The question now is whether or not VR manufacturers can make the technology affordable without making the industry unprofitable.

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