Virtual Reality is often perceived as the future of home entertainment and has the potential to offer unique experiences with a whole new level of immersion. However, VR devices have a very high barrier to entry and out of the reach of most people’s budget. This is a shame because there’s a lot of publicity surrounding VR and its future place within the gaming industry. As you might expect, VR technology is still fairly niche and it doesn’t make sense for publishers to fund huge VR projects. This is because they will not receive a return on their investment and alienate the majority of their user-base. EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen, predicted during a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that mainstream VR could be be some time off:
“We are very prepared for being able to build VR games. We have made an investment over the last five years to move to a single engine that we built all our games on”
“We are experimenting with a couple of a different players today that are VR players and we are making some small [experimental] titles rather than full blown games. The fundamental issue is that we need to create a large market in VR before we invest 50 to 100 million dollars in a big title. And when I say a large market, today there are 80 or 60 million new gen consoles, Xbox and PlayStation, sitting on the top of 150 million older generation consoles so that is a larger market. ”
“VR will be great and there are going to be a lot of applications for that including gaming. But I think it will be a few years off before we have a substantial VR market. We are prepared about it, we are excited about it, we can see some experiments coming out from our studio in the years to come that will help people understand the power [of VR].”
I think this is an optimistic viewpoint because VR technology requires a lot of graphical horsepower, and the devices themselves will probably remain expensive for some time. Eventually, prices will fall and this should encourage people to take a risk and give VR a try!