Virtual Reality gaming is about to arrive in a big way, and there are tons of discussions going on about what the best gaming genres will be. But in these discussions people tend to think big, looking at the most significant existing console games and imagining them in VR form. This is probably the right way to go about it, but it’s also important to remember that the first generation of in-home VR games might be a little bit simpler than some are imagining. And with that in mind, one might wonder if app games might actually serve as better foundations for VR than console experiences that are already so big as to be totally immersive.
Gaming in general thrives on detail these days. On mobile devices, PCs and consoles alike, players appreciate big beautiful environments and realistic 3D graphics. The difference is that, on consoles, such environments are about as satisfying as they need to be, and it’s easy to imagine a sort of clunkiness to them in the early transformations to VR. Beautiful app games, however, are small and limited by nature, almost automatically making us long for more. Super-sizing a popular app game and turning it into a VR experience may be a better way to please a lot of gamers.
Whether or not this will happen on a large scale remains to be seen, but in the meantime here are a few popular app titles that illustrate the point across different genres.
It’s one of the longest-running popular apps available, and it’s always been almost amazingly simple. Fruit flies up in the air, and you cut it up with a swipe of your finger. So why not do it with a VR headset on and more of an actual knife-swiping motion? This has actually already been attempted; an article at PC World revealed efforts by German University students to rig up their own VR version of Fruit Ninja, and it appears the results were satisfying. This would be a nice, simple game for VR developers to start out with.
It’s been suggested that racing games could be some of the most successful titles on VR. Wareable’s look ahead at the next year of VR game releases pointed to a couple racing games that are apparently on the way. However, it might just be simpler for developers to adapt an existing game. Real Racing 3 is an incredibly realistic and detailed game for a something that’s played on phones and tablets, and could do wonderfully if it were simply scaled up.
The trouble with a lot of ambitious VR games is that movement is tricky. An environment can look stunning and real, but it’s tough to interact with it in a way that feels natural. That’s precisely why the casino gaming genre could do well—it requires minimal movement. There actually aren’t too many ready-made casino games featuring a legitimate variety of options, but the array of games at Betfair makes for an intriguing VR concept. Interacting with a full-scale casino (as opposed to just a single poker table or something of the like) could make for a deceptively big VR experience.
Inevitably there will be plenty of shooters and adventure games released on VR, even if movement within them is at first difficult and unfamiliar. But the recently released Galaxy Of Heroes game could make for a smooth transition toward VR shooters. EA describes this game as having an “epic RPG-style combat,” which just seems brilliant for VR. An RPG can be more turn-based, meaning you can enjoy the realistic look of having someone shooting at you without having to figure out how to move around while your face is masked in a headset and your body is on your couch. Not to mention, given the Star Wars resurgence, this particular RPG title would undoubtedly be popular.
This game might be cheating a bit, because it was actually designed specifically for a VR headset. Well, sort of. Proton Pulse was designed for Google Cardboard play, meaning it’s a phone app that can be slotted into Google’s VR goggles and enjoyed as if it’s a full-fledged VR experience. Still, it’s probably the best existing example of how easily some app games can be transformed into this new genre of gaming. The game itself is basically a 3D brick buster.
Who knows if we’ll ever see these particular titles turned into VR games. But it’s easy to see how some simpler concepts could work better than full-blown shooter and adventure games.