I killed my first zombie in VR

My comments at Reddit



Driveclub VR (PS4)

Virual Reality has arrived for me. I bought the Playstation VR, together with the Playstation PS4 Pro. The game at hand is Driveclub VR. This is a video of me being the passenger in my own replay of a race. Keep in mind, the VR experience is much stronger. With VR you are ‘really there’ in the car. Enjoy. Music by Joe Satriani (Ceremony)

Microsoft has to upgrade the Xbox One to support VR (Scorpio)

Microsoft insider Brad Sams wrote on Thurrott.com, saying that he expects to see new hardware and a new controller at E3. So what hardware could that be? My guess (and hope) is that Microsoft announces a VR capable upgraded Xbox One. To support the Oculus Rift VR headset. I don’t think Microsoft has other options. If Xbox does not do VR, Microsoft will loose gamers who want to enjoy VR. They will switch to a VR platform, and probably stick with it. VR could be addictive as hell and truly the next step in gaming. I am a firm believer that VR indeed is this ‘next step’. It will take the First Person View to a level beyond what has been offered the last 20 years since Doom and Quake. From Doom in the mid 90’s to the latest Call of Duty and Battlefield, you look at a flat screen. 20 years gave us a bit more pixels, but that’s it. But in VR you turn your head. The immersion is on a completely other level. The adage will be ‘Once VR, never look back ~ Max Qubit’

VR is trippyThe problem for Microsoft is the price of the hardware to support the Oculus Rift. The lowest price for a ‘Oculus Rift pc’ I saw was around $900. Maybe in 6 months that drops to $750. So Microsoft faces the problem of announcing a $750 Xbox One VR … just to support the Oculus Rift.

A possible way to solve this might be to first announce an Xbox One VR upgrade (supporting Oculus Rift) but toy with the release date. Releasing later means the Xbox One VR can have a less expensive price tag. It might also benefit from a less expensive Oculus Rift, and it would give developers time to build VR support into the Xbox games. I think Microsoft could get away with a 2017 Q2 release of the Xbox One VR without losing an army of gamers to Sony (PSVR) or HTC/Valve (Vive). Most Xbox gamers interested in VR probably would argue ‘Well, I wait a bit longer for the Xbox One VR to arrive instead of switching platform’. My estimated price tag for an Xbox One VR releasing in 2017 Q2 is around $600. Perfectly acceptable for hard core Xbox gamers who want to go VR.

With above strategy, Microsoft would offer a VR upgrade path for Xbox gamers. Eclipsing Sony’s PSVR solution, which is cheaper but also less powerful, by releasing 6 months after Sony’s PSVR, an Xbox One VR system which can handle the Oculus Rift.

Microsoft needs an answer to VR. Above is my suggested move. It is Microsoft’s only option.

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Edit (may 27, 2016): Kotaku and Polygon brought out the news that Microsoft indeed is working on an upgraded Xbox under the name ‘Scorpio’. To be expected in  2017.

Microsoft is feeling pressure to announce the upgraded Scorpio at this year’s E3 ~ Polygon

In line with what I was suggesting in my post:)

Edit (aug 9, 2017): We now know Scorpio is coming Q4 2017, under the name Xbox X. Somewhat surprising is that Microsoft has stopped talking about VR on Xbox X. Sure they will say Xbox X is VR enabled, but there is no concrete VR available at launch in Q4 2017. Not like, plug in Rift and go. VR on Xbox X will come, but the wait will be longer than I expected.

VR here we come

I do not necessarily want to be the first to own VR glasses like Oculus Rift, but I’ll certainly look into it this year, probably around summer. I’m quite convinced that VR will become the next big thing in Gaming. This after previous big steps like gaming in general (80’s), 3d graphics (mid 90’s), network/internet/online gaming (around 2000) and mobile gaming (around 2010). Of course VR, to settle, will take some years. The first real VR game I buy will be Elite Dangerous. Space here I come.

For true VR shooters there has to be a change in the control scheme. In any standard shooter now, you aim and shoot in the direction your body is (in the direction you walk/run). However, in VR this needs to be addressed differently. You aim and shoot in the direction you LOOK, especially if you Aim Down Sights (ADS), while your body direction does not necessarily need to change.

With a controller it could be like this

No trigger : Gun is aligned forward with body (Hip fire mode)
Left trigger : Align gun with your head (Hip fire mode)
Left trigger + Right trigger (pulled half way) : Pull up gun. ADS
Right trigger (fully pulled) : Fire!

There will be further restrictions depending on the type VR is trippyof gun. With a handgun, looking and aiming left or right does not matter much. The handgun will quickly align with your head. With a rifle however things are different. Are you left or right handed? Suppose you carry the rifle right handed, you then can align your rifle with your head even when your head is 135+ degrees turned over your left shoulder. But to the right, you are more restricted in aligning. You can only align your rifle when your head is turned for 45 degrees or less in ADS mode (or maybe 60 degrees when in hip fire mode) towards your right shoulder. Check it yourself. A heavy machine gun will align with your head like the rifle, but without the ADS possibility and of course slower.

All this should be built into a REAL/NATIVE VR Shooter. The main purpose of VR is ‘immersion’. Things will be much more real than on a flat screen. And therefor the aiming can be excused for also being more real. And more real will mean more SLOW. The gameplay will be different, because of the immersion and because your head is more slow than a mouse or controller.

Above is how I see it (at this moment, now I have given the matter some thought)

I know practically for sure that once you play in ‘VR’ you can not go back to a flat screen. The early adopters among gamers are already stating this feeling. You just can’t go back. In the mid 90’s there was no turning back when 3D gfx cards were introduced (Doom/Quake) and a whole new world of First Person Shooters opened up. This time VR will become a point of no return. VR sets will rapidly become cheaper, better and lighter. Everybody is jumping on the VR train. And with reason! Did I say everybody? What about Microsoft and Xbox? Well, I expect some VR anouncement soon. Sony is playing their own VR card, and just announced a performance upgrade for the PS4 to support their own VR glasses (Morpheus). Microsoft simply has to follow. I expect them to at least upgrade the Xbox One to be able to handle the Oculus Rift.