There have been many different breakthroughs in gaming throughout the years. The biggest breakthrough in the past decade has been motion control gaming. Using the Wii remote as a tennis racket or a baseball bat was revolutionary. It changed how everybody played their favorite games and it lead to the Nintendo Wii being the highest selling console in the past 10 years.
Xbox and PlayStation both tried to mimic the Wii’s success with their own versions of motion control. Xbox released their Kinect in 2010 which let your body be the controller. I bought Kinect the day it was released and I was blown away by the technology. Using my body to steer a raft in Kinect Adventures was exciting to me.
PlayStation released their PlayStation Move which required the usage of Wii-like controllers. You would have a motion controller in one hand and then a directional pad in the other that would help you play the games.
The question that was asked a lot during the motion control movement was, “Whats next?” Fans of video games often wonder what the next thing was. That next thing happened to be Virtual Reality. VR would put you in the game using a headset that would give you a 360 degree view of the game you are playing.
The first big VR project was the Oculus Rift. It was born on Kickstarter and made over $2 million, surpassing their original goal of $250,000. Oculus was later bought by Facebook for a whopping $2 billion.
The second big VR project was the HTC Vive. Created by HTC and Valve, this headset would be Oculus Rift’s biggest competitor for PC gamers.
PC gamers had their choosing of what VR headset they would want to own, so it was just a matter of time for the console players to get their own version. Sony jumped on that and announced “Project Morpheus” which turned out to be PlayStation VR. Working with the power of the PlayStation 4, the PSVR is the cheapest option out of the three VR headsets. It would also reach a bigger audience due to the popularity of the PS4 console.
2016 has officially been declared as the year of VR with the Rift, Vive and PSVR all releasing at some point later this year. VR was even a big part of the E3 conference, with each developer announcing a few of their own VR games.
Before you know it, VR will fall into the same category as motion gaming. Soon it will be considered an old toy and people will want what comes next.
Well, what does come next? VR is still new to gamers but that wouldn’t stop us from thinking about the next big thing. Personally, I have my own idea.
If anyone has seen the movie Gamer with Gerard Butler, you know that the movie is about a computer programmer who manages to create a way to control a real person by placing them into a game. The cool thing about how he plays the game is that his whole room is turned into the gaming environment without the need for a headset. He uses his arms to use a gun and moves around wherever he wants.
That is what I believe the next big thing will be. Everyone wants to feel that they are inside the video game. VR is a step towards that, but you have to wear the clunky headset. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the whole room was the environment?
Microsoft was working on something like this with their Illumiroom. The Illumiroom would extend the image on your television and would project the image on your wall. If that same technology could be used for the whole room, the future of gaming can’t be that far away.
There will always be a big thing that gets gamers excited. Whether it is motion control with the Wii or VR, we can’t wait to get our hands on the new technology that would make our game-playing experience more enjoyable. So while we can enjoy the VR revolution we are in now, it is never to early to look towards the future and to see the new tech we could be playing with in the next 10 years.