Why VR Could Bring Back A Pre-Mobile Game Industry


When mobile gaming went mainstream, so did the free to play and ad-supported models, along with microtransactions. These trends eventually trickled into the normal video game industry, and gamers were hit by wave after wave of day 1 DLC, microtransactions in $60 games, and in-game advertising. The game industry had, except for a few hangers-on, adapted in a bid to keep up with mobile gaming, and had changed the entire industry dynamic in the process. Mobile gaming isn't going anywhere any time soon, and publishers are finding it far easier and more profitable to push developers and nickel and dime consumers than to develop games in one go and ensure the quality and value is all there from the start. The game industry needs a hero, and that hero may be virtual reality.

While some of the trends that have overtaken the gaming industry, like DLC, may work in VR, an ad-supported model and a free to play game with microtransactions may be difficult to implement, given the limited scope of controls that VR games have to work with in order to keep immersion. Full-screen ads would have to be carefully implemented, as would videos, and they would end up factoring into the buildup of VR fatigue that makes most users' VR sessions much shorter than marathon sessions of traditional gaming. As a demonstration of that concept, one need only look to what happened when somebody tried to break the over-24-hour world record for VR use. Although there are a number of players working on VR sickness solutions, this is still a factor in the current market, and will likely play into the market in some way on a longer term basis.

With this being the case, the only real way for VR games to thrive, at the moment, is to return to premium, upfront pricing, the way the game industry used to function, and to keep ads, microtransactions, and other such carrovers from mobile gaming to a minimum. After all, since VR is all about immersion, breaking that immersion could result in sickness or a drop in quality in the gaming experience. This means, of course, that the sort of product placement seen in games like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, where a grizzled war hero can guzzle Mountain Dew, could also make a return. Whether the entire industry will follow, of course, is anybody's guess.

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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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