Virtual reality gaming has emerged in a big way this year, and it’s nowhere near slowing down. Just in May we wrote up the release of a brand new headset looking to work its way into the competition with major names like the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift. And as these and other headsets have been unveiled and released to the public, we have already seen a cascade of new gaming experiences.
Some of these games have really pushed the limits of the new format, exploring VR capabilities and presenting mind-blowing adventures unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Others are more stripped down ideas more akin to mobile apps for VR headsets than, say, altered console games. Both types of games are incredibly exciting, and we probably have a long way to go in exploring what both have to offer. There are undoubtedly experiences coming that we could never predict, but if you’re wondering what’s around the corner the following ideas seem quite likely.
You can probably bank on a major VR Quidditch game in the near future. For those who (somehow) may not be familiar with this game, it’s a fictional sport that was invented by J.K. Rowling as effectively the football of the wizarding world in the Harry Potter series. It’s played on broomsticks, but Potter fans have long strived to make it a real activity. In fact, in both the U.K. and the United States, college students have made a club sport out of a sort of imitation Quidditch played on the ground. Furthermore, a group of students already created a VR Quidditch game a few years ago! But with Harry Potter back in the spotlight in a major way (thanks to the play/book Harry Potter And The Cursed Child and the forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them), a bigger release seems likely. If a legitimate gaming studio decided to take this on, it
could be a uniquely thrilling experience for Potter fans.
About a year ago, Schell Games’ “I Expect You To Die” was named the best overall VR experience at an awards ceremony. Designed for Oculus and built as a combination shooter and escape the room experience, it’s been pointed to by many as a sort of homage to James Bond games. But it’s not official, and as good as “I Expect You To Die” is, the comparison to Bond games will only make VR players hungry for a full adaptation. Specifically, an updated version of the iconic N64 shooter, GoldenEye 007 seems like a no-brainer for VR developers — particularly given that the game was just given a multiplayer, HD remake!
Themed Bingo & Casino Games
We’ve already seen some movement in the casino genre where VR is concerned. There’s a leading poker title already, and there’s even a standalone headset for bingo gamers. But if this genre is to follow in the footsteps of its own explosive growth online, it’s likely that deeper, more vibrant, and maybe themed experiences are to follow. Judging by one collection of different bingo rooms online where there are themes ranging from television programmes (like Coronation Street) to appealing settings (such as City, Country, and more), there’s a certain draw to these games beyond bingo (or roulette, or blackjack). Players like to feel a sense of atmosphere when playing games that can otherwise grow monotonous, and VR can certainly do a lot to bring a setting to life.
The idea of sailing has actually been explored surprisingly thoroughly in VR already. There are various experiences meant to promote actual sailing trips, or to serve as instruction for people who want to learn how to sail. In fact, there’s even a somewhat crude option to try your hand at sailing in virtual reality through a game called “VR Regatta.” But to do the same with a massive pirate ship, perhaps battling others or evading naval forces, would be quite different. It would also be a natural next step in gaming. Assassin’s Creed III broke new ground with its in-depth sailing features, and these were expanded upon in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Now, the upcoming game Sea Of Thieves is expected to be largely about crewing and sailing ships against opposition. So it seems only natural that a pirate sailing VR game is to follow.
This sounds like a pretty broad suggestion, but we’re specifically talking about the kinds of hand-to-hand games you may have played as a child, against siblings or friends. Think about things like arm wrestling, thumb wars, or even the kinds of slapping, clapping, and counting games in which you try to go as long as you can before you or your partner messes up. These could all be brought to VR (or augmented reality) with relative ease, giving new life to some fun and simple childhood games. Though they’d have to get creative working out the strength side of arm wrestling!
The rollout of VR games has really only just begun. But in the next year or so, these look to be as likely as any to become major games on the new platform.