Disclaimer: This is not about the almost guaranteed outrage that parents, “news” companies, and government officials will make about virtual reality. It is asking if gamers will want to play ‘shooters’ if they are hyper realistic, and will developers censor themselves to make their games more palatable for the masses.
A lot of hard core video gamers are looking forward to virtual reality gaming (VR). I admit strapping a headset to my face and being completely immersed in a game sounds very compelling and while I haven’t tried it myself yet I am very much looking forward to it. I have seen videos of people trying things like the Oculus Rift and from their reaction it seems to transport you into the game. For things like a roller-coaster simulation it looks very fun, but what about hyper realistic shooters? If VR transports you into the game, will people feel comfortable with some of the more violent parts of those types of games? To be clear I am not talking about the reaction from the news,the government, or parents. I’m asking if gamers will feel comfortable shooting humans, running over civilians, or slitting virtual throats from behind, in VR?
I am not a ‘Oh lord, think of the children!’ type person and I have serious doubts about the viability of these sorts of realistic, violent games with the general population. I am not arguing that people will try and get these types of games banned, of course they will, I am arguing that people won’t want to buy these games for themselves.
I played games rated ‘Mature’ all throughout my childhood. I have killed more virtual people than I can count and yet some video games can still feel like they go too far. The GTA V torture scene comes to mind. It made me physically ill, torturing that virtual man. Will I want to experience that in virtual reality? No. Will most people? I doubt it.
Will Developers Shy Away From Making Shooters Hyper Realistic Because Of VR?
It is natural that developers want to make shooters for VR, it is a very popular genre after all, but it begs the question will they feel they have to censor their games? Making them less bloody, less graphic, and with more concern with how it will affect a gamers mind, not to appease denouncers but to sell to the average person. I like shooters but how will I be affected if I am dropped into a war zone with a controller shaped like a gun? I would guess quite a few COD players would love that, but I’m not sure I would. Especially as motion, sound, and eventually physical feelings are incorporated into the virtual gameplay. Imagine this, a bomb goes off right beside you killing your teammate. Your headphones are ringing in your ears and you have been knocked to the ground. You roll onto your stomach and try to push yourself up but the ground is red mud and your virtual fingers sink in. You push yourself to your knees and your vision swings left as you are booted in the head by and enemy. Your vision swims and as you look up you see a gun fire and the screen goes black leaving you in complete darkness. If you are completely immersed in the game, that could really mess with your mind. Will gamers want that? Of course some will but I would hazard a guess that more wouldn’t. We may see a shift in the games people buy away from shooters, or to less realistic ones anyway.
If I was a game developer making a COD or Battlefield designed for VR I would seriously think about how my game may shape the virtual reality landscape. A blockbuster game that takes things too far could potentially shape VR’s viability for mass acceptance. If the games are incredibly graphic and hyper realistic we may see a revolt, not from parents but from the gamers themselves. I sincerely hope that virtual reality takes off and becomes a completely immersive experience that makes you feel like you are actually in the game but it may not if developers take things too far too quickly. Maybe I’m just being a pacifist but I don’t see VR and hyper realistic shooters working together for the general public.