Four years have passed since 2016, the first year of VR, but we have not yet seen the real outbreak of VR. VR seems to be waiting for an opportunity to be recognized by mainstream consumers and enter the mass market. When the opportunity comes, it can eliminate all obstacles of VR popularization, so that people can easily experience and consume VR.
Industry giants have invested heavily in VR as the next smartphone industry: Facebook has spent $2 billion to acquire oculus, an emerging VR company, and even John kamack, who has created 3D shooting games, has joined in; HTC has made great efforts to transform VR and cooperated with steam’s valve, the largest online game distribution platform; Amazon, Google and other Internet companies have also participated in it.
The progress of technology and the enthusiasm of the giants directly ignited the VR industry, which lacked a complete chain of development, sales and experience at that time. A number of small and medium-sized manufacturers and start-ups joined in the carnival. In three days or two, you can see something new about VR, or the exposure of new hardware devices, or the formation of a content team, or the exploration of landing scenes.
VR has not been able to replicate the rise of smart phones, nor has it been able to repeat the scene of the whole ecology after the hardware like iPhone was put in place. Hardware manufacturers can’t provide affordable and powerful products, content teams can’t produce high-quality works, and consumers can’t be satisfied in VR, which can turn into an opportunity for long-term users.
The whole industry inevitably ushered in a cooling down. Hardware manufacturers with a water testing mentality withdrew most of the time. The content team also recognized the reality and switched from VR to other types of works. Consumers’ enthusiasm for new things was gradually exhausted in the immature hardware and software, and they no longer had interest in VR. The transformation of VR seems to be coming to an end.
In fact, some manufacturers still insist on investing in VR and improving product experience in iteration. After John kamack left, VR was still an important part of the F8 of the Facebook developer conference, and oculus quest with a full perspective was launched. HTC is also improving the vive series products, and domestic hardware manufacturers are refreshing the limits in terms of resolution, refresh rate and other hardware specifications. The watchers of VR industry are waiting for an opportunity to make VR eliminate all the shortcomings in the past and become a popular consumer product. Although there are not as many industry teams in the past, and there are people trying in all directions, they are still pushing VR forward slowly until the future of discovering huge gold deposits in the industry comes.
Whether it’s the improvement of hardware or the change of content development, what VR industry participants do is the same thing: enhance the attraction to consumers. If consumers do not feel its value and form repeated and continuous consumption behavior, VR industry will not have the support to survive. Therefore, various means are needed to fill the existing pit.
The “Saviour” to turn VR’s appeal around may have arrived this spring. Valve has released its latest VR game “half life: Alex”. Different from the small and medium-sized VR content in the past, this game for the first time realizes the 3A level of VR exclusive content development scale, with rich pictures, battles and plots, and points out a new way for latecomers in operation and interaction.
A lot of details are piled up in the game, and it is not limited to the level of artistic expression. Players can interact with almost all objects, pick up and put them down or launch them as weapons, making the game world more credible and realistic. At the beginning, there will be several oily pens. When players pick up and try to draw on the glass, they will be shocked by the ubiquitous “reality”.
Whether it’s the well-informed mass media, the vertical media that continuously observes VR, or ordinary players, almost all of them give “half life: Alex” high praise. There is no doubt that this is the most fun VR game now, which teaches all VR content developers a lesson. But it also has a problem that most VR content hasn’t solved: it doesn’t look good in the eyes of onlookers.
Because the movement of the body and VR perspective is not consistent, and the perspective shakes with the head at any time, some people will experience the VR content and have vertigo, vomiting and other symptoms. In the process of VR game exploration, this problem has been greatly alleviated. However, with the popularity of live broadcast and game video, the audience who uses ordinary monitors to watch the live VR game will still feel uncomfortable.
The solution given by the development group is that the audience mode output to the ordinary display has its own anti shake, and there are three kinds of character movement modes: walking, blinking and jogging. The original intention is excellent. After eliminating the shaking, the shaking caused by the player’s head movement will no longer appear. The three mobile modes can make the viewing experience more like an ordinary game on the basis of the former.
However, this attempt is not successful. The inconsistent shaking recognition accuracy of different VR head displays counteracts the effect of anti shaking, and the audience still looks shaking. The design of VR player’s main view screen can’t hide the unnecessary operation details in the game. Whether the operation is good or not, it can be seen by the audience, which affects the transmission of video or live broadcast to the game content. Why should we emphasize whether the game is good or not in the eyes of the third party? Shouldn’t the game be fun subjectively?
This is a well-known truth for all traditional video games. Today’s VR games don’t work very well. VR devices are still niche products, and the mainstream player groups still don’t get out of the mystery of VR cognition. “Half life: Alex” is very important, but VR needs works that can show the charm of a third party’s perspective.