Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Make some closet space next to your Kinect and 3D gaming glasses for your Oculus Rift/Morpheus.

Call me crazy, but I do not see the insane obsession with virtual reality gaming.  Here is my prediction.  The craze going on over Oculus Rift and now Project Morpheus is going to blow over like so many others.
I will be the first to admit that Kinect as a gaming tool is little more than a gimmick.  Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's implementation of Kinect on the Xbox 360 was nothing short of painful.  Perhaps the most novel use of Kinect thus far has been in sports games.  Most notably FIFA 13 where you could get penalty for screaming at your television and honestly that could have been achieved with just a microphone so I give the Kinect little credit.  My overall point is the the Kinect is absolutely a gimmick as a gaming peripheral just like 3D games were and now VR gaming is most likely going to be.

For starters both of these two VR headsets that everyone seems to be going gaga over, if you ask me, are absolutely hideous.  Especially the Oculus Rift headset. In the looks department the Morpheus, for the last of a better name at this point, kicks the hell out of the Oculus Rift.  Hands down.  That doesn't mean the Morpheus is a beautiful piece of equipment by any stretch though.  I really do not find it to be attractive in the least.  That being said looks alone will not doom either of these two devices--obviously.  What I think will doom them is the fact that they are a gimmick just like the Kinect and 3D gaming were.

Gaming is supposed to be fun above all and to me these things look like more of a hindrance to that in the long run.  They are absolutely a novel thing to try, but that novelty will  eventually wear off.  The only way this catches on is if the experience people get with a VR headset is better, more comfortable and has more ease to it than the current method of just sitting on a couch with a TV.  Right now I can walk into my living room, tell my Xbox One to turn on,project_morpheus sit down, my surround sound as well as TV are automatically turned on, I pick up my controller which automatically signs me in and I am on my way.  For me, that is about as easy as this process could get.

There has never been a time where I thought that playing a game while moving my head around to look would be a nice addition to my experience.  This all just seems like you are layering something unnecessary atop a completely painless experience.  The same goes for playing on the Playstation 4 by the way.  They are both fantastic gaming devices as they are right now.  This just seems like an undesirable added layer to me.

My overarching point here is that novelty rarely catches on.  Thus why it is called a novelty.  Although that brings me to another point in that novelty items are usually inexpensive and there is no way these two things are going to be purchased with pocket change!  In the case of the Morpheus I would not be the slightest bit shocked if it wasn't equal in price to the Playstation 4 itself!  Both of these products just seem like novelty ideas which will likely have a high price to experience.  Not exactly a recipe for off the chart sales.  (SEE 3D TV's IF YOU THINK I AM WRONG.)

Lastly, and perhaps the biggest hindrance of all!  This is a product that will almost guaranteed have optional support.  Meaning developers will not be forced to shoehorn Morpheus, or Oculus Rift, support into their games.  To make developers do that would be wrong and unfair of Sony or any company to do.  The same thing is going on right now with the Kinect in the Xbox One.  Look how that is being utilized!  Game support for Kinect is almost zero because developers do not have any real interest in adding motion controls to their games when they just do not call for them.  The same can be said for VR.  If there was widespread support for VR that developers wanted to use we would have heard about it long ago.  Instead we've heard nothing about Kinect support, nothing about 3D support and nothing about VR support.

I am predicting here and now that the VR craze is going to die off within a year after these two products are released.  VR gaming is a gimmick just like Kinect and 3D gaming.  It will have the exact same fate which is a lingering insignificance and a reminder of how manufactured media hype can sell consumers just about anything!


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