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It may look like something from some dystopian future with everybody having screens attached to their faces, yet virtual reality headsets seem to be the future for gaming. Every major company and their Mum seems to be developing or investing in the technology, but is it a guaranteed success? Simply put, no. In spite of all the money being poured into it, it’s still a gamble with no certainty it’ll be little more than a niche interest. But if companies do want to make it a mainstream feature, here are five things developers need to do to make virtual reality a hit.

1. Be cheap.
Peripherals have a fairly terrible history of success. From the Nintendo Power Glove to Kinect, bringing out add-ons to existing consoles has rarely been a recipe for success. The main stumbling block to a lot of these has been price. If someone has already spent £350 on a console and then has to spend another £100+ to get a fancy extra, most people won’t bother. If VR is to succeed, it has to be cheap. Any more than £75 and it’ll be consigned to a niche market.

2. Third party support.
So you’ve got your shiny new toy, now you need something to play on it. Inevitably first party support will be there, but it’s the third party games that determines which console does best. It’ll be the same with VR. Games like Adrift will be ideal, as would something like No Man’s Sky. Slightly slower paced, first person and interactive experiences with pick-up-and-play appeal. Perfect.

3. Tailor made games.
In addition to developer support, the games need to suit the format. Just porting over Call of Duty isn’t enough. Games need to work with the VR headset to make it an experience. A frantic first person shooter like COD will most likely lead to you throwing up over your cat. Games like Kitchen, the tech demo for Morpheus, showcases that perfectly. Terrifying and designed exclusively for VR, it demonstrates what VR is capable of when designers know what they’re doing with the tech they’ve got.

4. Comfort.
Most VR headsets look like something used at Guantanamo Bay. If you’re to spend hours with a TV screen strapped to your face it needs to not only be comfortable, but cool. I get hot enough wearing headphones, these headsets need to be so energy efficient that they’d make an environmentalist blush. Plus, as a bespectacled man, if I can’t wear it over my glasses comfortably and without damaging them then there’s no way in hell I’d buy it.

5. Link it with your TV.
Much like when Andrew McCarthy shagged Rob Lowe’s Mum in Class, television on your games console has become an awkward subject of late. Nobody wants to talk about it and it leaves everyone feeling a bit dirty. Mainly it’s because people with games consoles play them for games and watching tele through your XBox or PS4 adds nothing to the experience. However, imagine watching the football with an Oculus and feeling as though you’re in the crowd. Or watching the latest Attenborough documentary with the Morpheus and feeling as though you’re in the jungle. It’d be magical.

VR is a technology with bags on potential. Companies are putting enough money into it to make it live up to that, but the consumer support needs to be there. I worry that if they launch it as a cynical cash grab without the thought put into it, both its potential and all that cash will be wasted.



  1. Doesn’t that apply to all consoles that have ever existed?

  2. Interesting blog, thanks for sharing.

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