With PlayStation VR due to be released on October 13, many gamers are excited to experience virtual reality gaming for the first time as well as find out what exactly it means for the future of the gaming industry as a whole.
Whilst the concept of VR gaming is definitely not a new one, at an almost digestible $399, it has been argued that the PlayStation VR headset will be the first device to really make VR gaming more accessible to the general public due to its price, availability and the overall sales performance of the PlayStation 4. This is something that has yet to be achieved by the $600 Oculus Rift headset, which came out earlier this year.
One of the most anticipated launch titles set for release with PlayStation VR is Batman: Arkham VR. The recent buzz has detailed that the main story within the game will actually only be about an hour long, with more gameplay to be added later in the form of downloadable content.
Where's The Value In Spending All That Dosh?
In the current gaming arena, where consumers have consistently put video game developers to task about the price and length of video game releases, is this an issue of contention?
Before anybody raises their pitchforks in disgust at the thought of value for money, it is important to note that PlayStation VR titles are going to cost about a third of what an ordinary full-length title would. Props to Rocksteady Studios for alerting gamers ahead of the release with regard to exactly what gamers will be in for if they decide to purchase the title.
There is an argument to be made for the creation of brief VR games that finds its basis on the overall nature of VR gaming. As virtual reality is not a new concept, several of the side effects of the activity have already been explored.
It has been clearly documented that some VR users will likely experience VR sickness — a form of motion sickness induced through the use of the technology. The cause of VR sickness, or cybersickness, has been described as the deficiency in the brain’s ability to realize that a lack of movement is taking place despite visually induced perceptions. (A more detailed explanation of the phenomenon can be found here.)
VR sickness is likely to induce nausea, fatigue, drowsiness and disorientation in gamers. A user’s susceptibility to VR sickness is based on a whole load of different factors, including age, gender and health, meaning that not every gamer is likely to experience this sensation of nausea and disorientation.
It has been argued that VR sickness, as with simulator sickness experienced by trainee air force pilots, has the ability to dissuade users from further use of such technology, due to a fear of re-experiencing symptoms.
With a game like Batman: Arkham VR, by limiting the amount of playing time through reducing the story length, developers force gamers to adhere to recommended playing times set by the manufacturer (because in reality, supposedly we aren’t meant to spend hours at a time hammering through a new title.)
Should This Be A Decision The Consumer Makes?
It is fully possible for developers to make longer titles and for gamers to self-regulate their playing time. Many may argue that there is no denying that some gamers will ignore the recommended playing and rest times and, in turn, experience VR sickness, and that this should be one’s own decision to make.
However, with that being said, it may also be important to take into consideration the fact that VR is a new feature and that developers don’t yet know how popular it is going to be with consumers. It would not be wise for developers to invest large amounts of time and money into an endeavor that could turn out to be a flash in the pan (à la Kinect or PlayStation Move) or something that will only really gain traction further into the future.
Check out the Batman: Arkham VR reveal trailer below:
Are you going to buy PlayStation VR? Do you think Batman Arkham VR should be longer? Please share your feelings in the comments below.