VRcade – Virtual Reality Arcades Will Be the Future

As someone that is passionate about the video game industry and the technological advancement of video games I often wonder about what the future holds for the global gaming community. With an endless list of options and possibilities the truth is the industry could go in any direction. I have written on this blog recently about Virtual Reality, its applications and limitations and I truly believe that Virtual Reality is where the video game industry is naturally heading. Gamers are looking vr education for a more immersive experience when it comes to gaming, this is evident with releases from the three game giants Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony in the form of the Wiimote, Project Natal and the Sony Motion Controller (yet to be officially named). I believe these control systems are just the beginning in the industry’s quest for a fully immersive video game experience and we can expect some much larger developments in the future. Our desire for an immersive gaming experience comes from an inner need to escape from the stress and worries of the real world and the need to spice up our lives with adventure, video games can provide that and I believe will provide that to some degree.

Although Virtual Reality isn’t a new technology I believe it will produce a revolution in the gaming industry and provide a whole new era of development. The reason we’re not seeing it emerge in the market yet is down to the enormous cost to implement the technology and for this reason I believe that video game arcades will experience a revival. Even in the future the cost of Virtual Reality will obviously reduce but the price will still be significant so it is unlikely we’ll see a full home application for Virtual Reality for some time. I believe this will result in in what I like to call the VRcade (probably not an original name), a video game arcade arranged in booths kitted out with all the equipment required for an immersive gaming experience where the customers pay per hour to use a Virtual Reality simulation booth. Imagine combining technologies such as the omni-directional treadmill, voice recognition, motion sensors and Virtual Reality and applying them to a VR booth in the conceptual VRcade. You’d have almost a fully immersive gaming experience where you could walk, run or crawl in a virtual environment and be able to speak and interact with computer generated characters. You could even interact and talk with real life characters in the virtual environment by networking the VR booths.

This concept may seem generations away but just by looking at Xbox’s upcoming control system Project Natal you can see that already many of the technologies required for the virtual reality experience are there. Voice recognition has been developed to an advanced stage, motion sensor technology is now highly advanced and computer graphics have reached a level where they’re close to photorealism. It again comes down to cost of implementation and the amount of time and money it would take to develop a new gaming platform of this magnitude and apply it to video game arcades. It would be a big gamble to take a project of this description on and this gaming experience obviously wouldn’t be available to everyone as the VRcades would have to be located in areas with a high population density to be profitable.

It is highly unlikely that we’ll see anything like this being developed in the immediate future but I believe VR technology will be the saving grace of the video game arcade and will provide an experience far superior to the one you’re able to get from a home console or computer. Eventually I’m sure VR will fully integrate itself into the home and advancements in technology will provide an experience similar to the VRcade but I imagine a fully immersive VR system for your bedroom is decades away and that is a whole different article to write. I shall be keeping a close eye on VR technology as I’m almost certain that VR is the inevitable future for the video game industry.

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