The Future Impact of VR Gaming
When VR was successfully re-introduced into the gaming market a few years ago it began to create a gaming niche of it's own which has started to grow at a steady albeit kind of slow pace. Regardless, VR gaming has created new developments and opportunities in both the gaming and allied industries. One of the biggest drawbacks of VR however is in the initial costs of the needed hardware since the headsets together with the computers and consoles needed to run VR, are at a current price range a little bit steep for the average consumer.
Both VR and AR have had a tremendous impact on the gaming industry in their own unique ways. However, since VR practically cuts the user off from one's current and actual surroundings placing one in an alternate digital reality of sorts, the impact on how a gamer sees and interacts with the new environment has a much more profound effect on one's perception of what a game is. Watching and interacting with a game taking place on a screen in a different reality is no match as being in VR in that same reality which is now all around you and perceived as not something on a screen anymore. The effect is astounding and is definitely beyond the AR overlays to the current actual reality.
Technology wise , VR continues to grow as more devices and upgrades are coming out for the current market. The more powerful and better the quality of VR delivery, the more feasible it becomes as a medium for the industry. The current hindrance is price but as this goes down in the near future, VR gets closer and closer to the average man's economy and thus the acceptance of the masses akin to that of the color TV set or the Cell Phone. It may take a while but VR as an everyday technology will become mainstream whether separate or mixed in some way or another. People will then have access to VR hardware similar to purchasing a Smart Phone today.
The impact of VR games would be in that it would practically change the way people or gamers would play their games. The headset would probably become a way lot more portable and more practical to slip on one's head than sitting in front of a TV or monitor. One could simply take one's games wherever they went. Also, judging by the growth in VR today, the quality would be so realistic where one could practically live a life in an alternate digital world akin to a starship Holo-deck. Gaming would be like a short simulated trip to an alternate world with a direct personal experience where one gets to live the game. By that time, gamers don't play games, they live them.
Some proponents of VR believe that the hardware will advance to the point where they can be inserted into the human body like for example a VR contact lens. However, not everyone wants to be embedded with bio-electronic cyber devices so wearable would probably be a more popular choice even for people in the near future. After all, one will just need a practical and safe area to move around or a comfortable sitting or standing space along with an audio/video headset and accompanying (equally portable) control and feedback devices to enjoy the benefits and full potential of Virtual Reality.
As for the gaming industry, the projections are promising as well. Virtual Reality again may be a bit slow with some ups and downs but never the less a profitable and good business. In 2019, the VR market worldwide was valued at 11.56 Billion Dollars. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.2% from 2020 to 2027. With the added global quarantine situation of the Corona Pandemic more and more people are expected to spend more time at home playing games. This will prompt hardware manufacturers and content developers to keep upgrading and making their VR products better.
Content is another major growth factor in the industry. More and more games will be needed to fill up the demands of the gaming population playing at home. Even the applications being developed for VR content creation have received around 43% of the entire funding for VR in the last five years. Also, the software industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 20.0% till 2027. Aside from the PC and console based VR market, the mobile smart phone VR industry is anticipated to grow as the phones get better with improved GPU capabilities. Mobile VR headsets will then be able to compete with their high-end counterparts. This will open VR gaming to the casual games market as well.
The continual rise of the gaming market world over is an indicator that people will continue to play if not start playing VR in the times to come. As long as the demand exist and the industry is working to fill in that demand, VR will definitely continue to shape the way people play games. The success of Half-Life Alyx alone is a clear indication of this consumer demand. The impact has already been made, what remains will be the continuation of it's effects and the direction of the ball which the technology has started to roll.