The early focus on virtual reality in the home has distracted from where its real success will come.
That’s the belief of Starbreeze’s chief technology officer Emmanuel Marquez, who told VentureBeat that dedicated gamers will not be the catalyst of the technology’s eventual rise.
Since day one I knew it would be difficult to install VR in the home. We all know why. It’s expensive. You need space. It’s difficult to set up. It’s for geeks," he said. People that are disappointed by VR right now are the same people who were enthusiastic two years ago. It’s hobbyists and researchers.
There are a lot of other markets, as we all know, and we work with them too, all the verticals outside of games. We know it works. We’re monitoring IMAX VR centers and stuff like that. It’s successful.
My conclusion is that the audience isn’t necessarily gamers. It’s not the normal gaming audience. It’s anyone. It’s families out on a Sunday trying this out the same way they’d go and see a movie. It’s every age, so you need to provide an experience that works for everyone."
Potential success outside of the home, however, will lead to inevitable success within it, Marquez argued.
We always planned to go for the arcades. I envisioned the console model. Console games grew out of the arcades," he added. People played Pac-Man in cafes for years before consoles ever became successful as something everyone had at home. I think VR will follow the same path.
You can go to a center and play and get immersed completely, a full-body experience, playing something like Payday. But we also want to attach the normal Payday game to what you play at the arcade, so people can go back and forth between two experiences that are attached to the same world."
Starbreeze has its own VR headset in development and says that it is currently working with a dozen studios on VR content – and its ambitions are only growing.
We’re always looking for more [developers] but we want people who will dedicate their experience to the arcades," Marquez added. I don’t want a home VR experience, something ported from the home to arcades. It needs to be a real mini-theme park attraction, for one player or four players or 16 players. We need to be able to have experiences that scale up and more social."