I am not a trendsetting techventurer. I do not have the scars to prove that I live on the edge. I am not exactly a vanilla homebody either, but finances are tight. I believe in the potential of Virtual Reality gaming, but I have yet to test that faith. Do I go all-in? Do I stay all-out? It’s a dilemma I imagine many of us are going to have to face very soon.
It all started with the Kinect, Microsoft’s Hail Mary that ended in a Safety. I never once played with a Kinect, but I really wanted to. When they first announced it, I was excited and engaged, but the software was not there to lure me in. All of my friends were naysayers and each was ultimately proven correct, but I still have a notion that in the vast multiverse there exists a universe where Kinect is a household word and the Xbox One was not being phased out in favor of a pseudio replacement named after an astrological sign.
Kinect may not have worked, but I do not think the technology was really there yet. Something more needed to go along with the tracking. Something like a headset strapped to one’s forehead. Something like Virtual Reality devices like the Playstation VR, Vive, and Oculus Rift. Even if the thought instantly conjures up red-and-black migraines from a bygone era (and a mostly bygone hardware company), there’s something alluring about placing ourselves fully in the games we want to play.
I have yet to try VR. I keep my eyes peeled for any opportunity, but I have not seen one yet here in north Florida. I want to be convinced. I want to fall in love. For the longest time, I have supported the notion that first person is the best view for immersion. I miss the days of playing EverQuest, staring up at mountains, statues, and giants, and feeling like Norrath itself were hovering above me.
VR can do much more than just first person games. The possibilities are endless and traditional gaming does not need to be sacrificed to fit a new way of seeing those games. I am more excited for first person immersion, but my mind waxes with wanderlust. Where can I go? What will I see? Who can I become? What can I do?
Hopeless idealism aside, the world of dreams must always be filtered through the drain pipes of reality. And they lead to green money. Virtual Reality is an expensive prospect. Worse, its an early adopter gambit with no guarantees it will pay off. Like so many Wii U, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 launch owners, I could easily feel abandoned in a couple of years with some newer, later, and greater hardware takes over.
And as much as I can hope and dream about the games that are possible, rarely do developers follow suit with likeminded visions. I had dreams of the Kinect, but no connections were ever made. It was a shovelware platform, not unlike the Wii outside of Nintendo’s products. How soon will VR become the same?
If I do take the leap, from which cliff do I hurl myself? Do I go with the Oculus Rift, older and more established, but also expensive and controller-less? Do I go with the Vive, an expensive prospect in its own right, which will likely also beg me to upgrade my computer? Do I stick with my Playstation 4, get a Playstation VR, and risk Sony dropping yet another hardware push?
I do not know and I hate that so much.