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Just how immersive will VR actually be?

Posted by Alex Bailey On May - 12 - 2016

Virtual reality is almost set to become a reality, and everyone is wondering if it is going to live up to expectations. The potential is endless, but will the graphics start off looking reminiscent of something from Nintendo Wii, or will gamers actually be entering fully immersive worlds with rich landscapes, as seen in current console games such as Fallout 4? Is VR going to serve as a brief escape from reality, or are people going to create new virtual lives for themselves?

One would hope that the answer to the latter would be somewhere in the middle. Virtual reality has to create something different that people can’t do in their everyday lives, but it would obviously be unhealthy if someone decided to move to VR permanently. In terms of the graphics, this is set to vary between headsets, and looking at innovative technology from the past, it always takes a few years for the developers to really master it. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive both have a resolution of 2160 x 1200 with a refresh rate of 90Hz, which should provide a smooth viewing experience.

Cordeiro Rift” (CC BY 2.0) by  Rafael Drelich Valentim 


In terms of games, it is looking like VR will move away from the cartoon style, unrealistic aspects that were synonymous with the Wii, and look to carry on developing games in a similar vein to the visually stimulating offerings currently on the market. There isn’t that much on offer in VR at the moment, but when more people buy into the concept of VR, the amount of games available will increase massively. The PlayStation VR in particular, looks set to offer some of the most attractive landscapes with games like Final Fantasy XIV Online, London Heist: Getaway, and Rigs: Mechanized Combat League already in the pipeline.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing games (MMORPGs) are hugely popular at the moment, with games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars attracting thousands of players each day. These games already try to create an alternative universe for players, in which they can develop their own characters, go on quests, and socialise with other players. In what is already an immersive experience, VR could enhance these games significantly.


Wii Sports Resort Ping-Pong” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  hirotomo 

The same could be said about online casinos, which attract a high percentage of online gamers. To bring the casino to the player’s home, a lot of sites now offer live links to roulette and blackjack games in real casinos. With virtual reality they may be able to take this one step further and allow players to put on the headset and enter a virtual casino.

The time when virtual reality becomes a must have item is probably still quite far off, but it is not too early to speculate just what people will be able to do with this extraordinary invention. The early signs are good, and one would expect that in these days of such advanced technology, the creators know exactly what they are doing. Gamers will soon find out if VR will fulfil their high hopes.  


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