Virtual reality is already part of the present, but it will hardly be the future of games

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Virtual reality is already part of the present, but it will hardly be the future of games

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For at least 30 years, when imagining what the video game of the future would look like, some form of virtual reality device comes to mind. Since the Virtual Boy, launched in 1995 by Nintendo, several companies in the game market seek to develop technologies that make this future ever closer. But will we ever get there?

Sony and Meta (formerly Facebook) have in recent weeks unveiled devices that represent the next generation of virtual reality devices. Both are technological works of art, capable of taking virtual reality experiences to a new level, but they still don’t solve the two main problems of these devices: the price and the “weirdness”.

In a post published on its blog last Wednesday (2), Sony announced that its new virtual reality device, the PlayStation VR2, will hit the market on February 22 next year. Among the main technological innovations of the device is the ability to track the user’s pupil. This makes it possible, for example, for the player to select a piece of equipment just by looking at it or to give a command in the game with a wink.

The technology, however, comes with a hefty price tag. The kit containing the device and controls for both hands will cost US$ 600 (about R$ 3,000) in the United States. It is more expensive than a PlayStation 5 console, sold in the country for US$ 500 (R$ 2,500) – in its most expensive version – and necessary for Sony’s virtual reality system to work.

The recently launched Meta Quest Pro has the advantage of not needing to be connected to a computer to work and its main innovation is the ability to show the user’s surroundings in color and high resolution on the display, enabling mixed reality uses (mixing the real and virtual). In addition, the device is capable of detecting users’ facial expressions, which makes it a key peripheral for Mark Zuckerberg’s company’s ambitions with the metaverse.

The device, however, has a starting price of US$ 1,500 (about R$ 7,600), a value that is considered almost prohibitive for the games market. So much so that the company’s marketing for the new product is focused on professional use, not entertainment.

For gamers, the company has Quest 2, considered the most successful virtual reality device today. With great versatility, it was launched in October 2020 at an initial cost of US$ 299 (R$ 1,500). Although the price was readjusted in August to US$ 399 (R$ 2,000), the product is still in an affordable range for those looking to purchase a video game console – it is cheaper than the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, for example. example.

If Quest 2 shows that the price barrier may be close to being broken, the “weirdness” barrier still seems insurmountable.

As much as the advertisements for virtual reality devices show happy and relaxed people having fun with these devices, using one of these still conveys a feeling of strangeness and discomfort that is difficult to overcome. The feeling of knowing you are in one place, but finding yourself in a totally different virtual environment, moving around without leaving the place, can be an uncomfortable and alienating experience, very difficult to sell to the consumer in general.

So it’s hard to imagine that virtual reality equipment could become as popular as consoles and computers. It seems much more likely that they will become niche equipment, fun at times, useful for specific purposes (such as treating phobias) and beloved by some ardent fans, but unlikely to become the gaming industry standard. Very similar to what is happening today.

Thinking like that, it’s possible that the future of virtual reality games has already arrived, we just didn’t realize it because our expectations for this technology were too high.


play

game tip, new or old, for you to test

Persona 5 Royal

(PC, Xbox One/X/S, PlayStation 4/5 and Switch)

If you like anime, you need to try “Persona 5”. In this great Japanese RPG of turn-based battles, you take on the role of a teenager who has to live the day to day and the dilemmas of high school while fighting monsters that represent the unhealthy mentalities of the adults around him. It may sound crazy (and it is), but the tone is very similar to some of the most successful anime in recent years. In addition to being very well done, the title, which was exclusive to PlayStation consoles, arrived on the last 20th for PCs, Switch and Xbox consoles (included in Game Pass).


update

news, launches, business and what else matters

  • Google has launched a service in Brazil that allows you to play mobile games on your PC. Called Google Play Games, the product is still in beta and allows you to download and play 40 titles developed for Android devices on computers. It has been tested by the company since the beginning of the year and has been working since August in some countries in Asia and Oceania.
  • In addition to developing an Iron Man game, Electronic Arts announced that it is working on “at least” two more action/adventure games in partnership with Marvel. No further details were given about what titles these would be, only that they will tell original stories starring Marvel heroes.
  • Netflix continues to increase its ambitions in the gaming market. Last Tuesday (1st), the company announced on its website the acquisition of Spry Fox. The Seattle-based game studio is the fourth to be purchased by the streaming company and joins two others opened by Netflix itself.
  • The PlayStation Plus subscription service has lost 1.9 million subscribers since Sony revamped the product to include access to games, website VGC said. According to the latest fiscal report presented by the company, from July to September the number of subscribers dropped from 47.3 million to 45.4 million. Despite the drop, the company said its subscription profits rose 10% as a result of the product’s price increase.
  • Niko Partners report released by the website GameIndustry.biz points out that the games market in China is expected to present its first annual decline in 20 years at the end of 2022. The company predicts a 2.5% shrinkage of the country’s gaming market, in part due to increased restrictions on access to games by the Chinese government and a drop in mobile gaming spending in the country.
  • Microsoft announced the first batch of games coming to the Xbox Game Pass subscription game service in November. Among the highlights are the adventure game “Return to Monkey Island”, the football team management title “Football Manager 2023” and the narrative adventure based on medieval illustrations “Pentiment”.

download

games that will be released in the next few days and promotions that are worth it

8.nov

“A Little to the Left”: price not available (PC)

“Return to Monkey Island”*: price not available (Xbox X/S, PS 5)

“Sifu”: BRL 200 (Switch)

“Sonic Frontiers”: BRL 299.95 (PC, Switch, Xbox One/X/S, PS 4/5)

9.nov

“God of War: Ragnarok”: BRL 299.90 (PS 4), BRL 349.90 (PS 5)

11.nov

“Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration”: BRL 159.95 (Xbox One/X/S), BRL 207.02 (Switch), price not available (PC, PS 4/5)

“Tactics Ogre: Reborn”: BRL 219.90 (PC), BRL 249.50 (Switch, PS 4/5)

“Valkyrie Elysium”: BRL 249.90 (PC)

*Available on Xbox Game Pass


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