All eyes on VR

All eyes on VR
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

April 7th 2014 at 2:35PM

Virtual reality has been given a violent shove from potential game-changer to oncoming storm

Alarms bark at me from all around, warning me of an enemy missile lock. While my hands send my craft left to dodge, my head turns right to seek my next target. The cockpit around me protects me from the vacuum of space.

The demo of CCP’s virtual reality space dogfighter EVE?Valkyrie only lasts for 90 seconds, but it takes a fraction of that to see the appeal of virtual reality: both to developers and consumers. It’s a technology that we’ve been longing for since first discovering it in the realms of science fiction – and now we can physically put it over our heads. Now it’s science fact.

Oculus Rift has, of course, been making waves for almost two years now, and it was perhaps inevitable that one of the traditional platform holders would fight back with something like PlayStation’s Project Morpheus. But I don’t think anyone can honestly say they predicted that Facebook would muscle in with a $2bn acquisition of the pioneering Oculus VR.

The why and the how of this surprising deal invites interesting discussions, but the burning question is: now what? As an indie, Oculus was a nice project for us to follow in the hopes that it would one day be in our hands. But with Facebook now calling the shots and Sony shouting about its own tech, virtual reality has just been given a violent shove from potential game-changer to oncoming storm.

For a concept as ambitious as VR to have gained such high-profile attention, you can’t help but feel that even more heads will be turning to the tech in the next few months.

Last month, I would have said virtual reality wouldn’t be available to the public for another year or so. Now it’s impossible to resist dreaming that it might be on shelves in time for Christmas.

And, far more than any next generation console, virtual reality really does open doors to developers to create entirely new experiences, titles that we still can’t conceive. It will be a bumpy road, with many fresh obstacles to overcome, but its a journey that we on Develop will hopefully be able to guide you through in the coming years.

Want to get involved in our VR special all this week? Have something to say about virtual reality and what it means for developers? Email James.Batchelor@intentmedia.co.uk to find out how you can take part.