- What's the Future of VR Game Development? Current Trends in Virtual Reality Industry
- Recent Growth of Virtual Reality Market in Gaming
- Predictions of the Future of VR Game Development
- 4 Modern VR Game Development Trends
- #1 Growth of Mobile VR Market Share
- #2 Overall Hardware Cost Reduction
- #3 Rapid Growth in East Asia – Pacific Region
- #4 The Development of an Indie Market
- Common VR Game Development Challenges
- Limited User Base
- Limitations of the Development Tools
- Skepticism from Investors
- Potential Security Issues
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Proper UI Integration
- Consider Pingle Studio Your Trusted Partner
- Final Thoughts
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technology that aims to simulate a particular experience and completely immerse a user into it. Its early history started in the middle of the 20th century, but still, it was refined and became popular fairly recently.
While VR was first used for education and training in the US military and NASA, it didn’t take long for it to be applied to gaming. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and most games for it were not received too well in the 1980s; however, the technology kept evolving until the first true consumer-ready VR device – Oculus Rift in 2013.
Since then, virtual reality innovations have led to the appearance of many more VR devices. While this has made it easier to develop games in the field, certain challenges of VR game development remain. So, let’s review the current trends in virtual reality game development and the potential future of VR gaming.
After the first introduction of Oculus Rift in 2013, a lot more devices have become available over the years. With PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and many smaller brands releasing their hardware, it became much more open to the general audience, which has resulted in an explosive growth of the virtual reality market.
Furthermore, the providers are constantly working on making the devices better and cheaper. According to the report by Mordor Intelligence, thanks to this and several other factors, the virtual reality market in gaming is expected to grow over 30% more in the next five years.
As you can see, the future of VR entertainment seems to be brighter than ever. But how can we expect it to change in the years to come?
First, the companies seek to move away from hardware attached to PCs and consoles by wires. This will provide much better freedom of action to the gamer, thus giving the developers more freedom as well.
Overall, the future of VR game development seems to be pointing towards better immersion. The hardware providers are already working on better controllers (or systems with no controllers at all, replacing them with hand trackers), tactile sensors, and haptic feedback, which might have the capabilities of providing the player the look and feel of a real world.
Current premium mobile devices have high-quality hardware with great specs, in some cases even comparable with computers. That’s why mobile VR gaming is becoming increasingly popular, with Samsung and Google developing hardware to accommodate it.
What also makes this one of the most popular VR trends 2021 is that mobile VR gaming is much more affordable for consumers. The headsets are much cheaper and are often provided as a bonus with premium phone models. However, the engines the games are built on for mobile phones aren’t perfect for VR games, which is why the end product is less immersive than top-tier games on PC and major consoles.
While VR headsets are more commonplace than ever, they are still frequently considered a luxury rather than an entertainment system. Even players who are interested in playing VR games decide against buying the hardware due to its high cost.
This is why one of the major virtual reality trends 2021 for hardware providers is to reduce its cost. While the price of the devices is not dropping rapidly, the overall effectiveness of the trend is definitely noticeable.
In recent years, the gaming market in Asian countries has seen rapid growth and a steady flow of investments. VR gaming is not an exception – many of the VR headsets sold in 2020 were purchased in India and China.
Another important aspect of this one of the virtual reality game development trends is a rise in talented game devs from the region. While they often lack experience working with VR technology, the market continues to grow and evolve.
In 2020, the major rise of interest in the VR gaming market was sparked by the release of Half-Life: Alyx – a spin-off from a popular series from Valve. However, this was more of an exception to the rule as major studios either avoid VR as a whole or release VR ports of their established AAA titles (Skyrim, Serious Sam, etc.).
Turns out, these were the perfect conditions for the VR indie games to become one of the VR game development trends. From chilling horror titles like Boneworks to goofy simulation games like Bizarre Barber – the VR indie market has it all.
The first of the major VR game development challenges is that the audience for these games is relatively small due to the high costs of VR hardware in addition to the gaming platform needed to run it.
This can result in the fact that the game sales might not cover the budget for its development, despite the product being popular and well-known. The potential solution to this issue is turning towards mobile VR game development, which is a bit more widespread, or waiting for the hardware costs to get low enough.
According to a HTC Vive 2020 Developer Survey, 26% of developers find the existing commercial game engines have limited abilities when it comes to VR game development. This presents a clear need for specific tools that can help with the creation of VR products.
Another problem with development tools cited by many developers is the lack of instruments for the inclusion of server-side features, including multiplayer and other social tools.
While VR as a technology is getting adopted more widely around the world, many major investors still view it as a temporary fad. A major reason behind this is the lack of experience with technology.
The only solution to this problem is a wider public acceptance. The more people will talk about VR in the gaming context and outside it, the more companies will be ready to look into the technology and invest in it.
The cybersecurity issues of VR have not been explored enough yet. While a lot of it comes down to general security practices you need to stick to on the internet, certain issues might be specific to VR hardware and software.
These issues are closely connected to acceptance from the investors and wider audience adoption. A single exploit can get viral and impact the VR gaming industry as a whole.
Another limit of VR game development is the effects the current technology has on the human body. After long sessions of VR gaming, many players have reported experiencing dizziness, headaches, and vertigo.
Unfortunately, the reason behind such an adverse reaction is not researched well enough. Furthermore, there is no major research on the mental effects of deep immersion into a virtual world, so more studies have to be conducted to ensure the safety of VR gaming gear.
UI is a significant component of most games, but players don’t often pay enough attention to it unless it is done cleverly and uniquely (or, vice versa, extremely awful). When it comes to VR gaming, a standard approach to UI design will often break the immersion and be detrimental to the game as a whole.
So, the challenge is to create a UI that is seamlessly integrated into the gaming world yet is easy to read and understand for the player. To successfully build such a design, you need not only to have a creative approach to the problem, but also conduct thorough user testing to understand which elements work best.
If you need help in VR game development from someone with technical expertise and hands-on knowledge of appropriate tools, Pingle Studio is the choice for you. We can help you realize your unique vision or port your game to VR devices to make it more immersive and attract a larger audience.
Regarding VR game development, we can work on the project full-cycle or provide co-development services, generate the content using OptiTrack mocap or optimize the existing one. No matter which type of services you need, contact us and we’ll discuss your project in detail.
The VR gaming market is growing rapidly and is getting adopted more widely by the general audience. This means that now is the best time to enter the field and provide your unique take on the technology.
However, there are still challenges and pitfalls when it comes to VR game development. If you need assistance with realizing your idea, Pingle Studio is your best choice. Contact us now and learn more about how we can help you.