The world of virtual reality for gaming is evolving rapidly, making it difficult to predict what might be around the corner. We’re seeing everyone from independent app developers to high-end gaming companies working on brand new experiences that can be enjoyed across a wide range of headsets. This makes for seemingly limitless potential. What we do know is that there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff on the way. But as for which genres, games, and styles will push to the forefront of the market, we really have no idea!
Nevertheless, here are a few semi-educated guesses as to the trends we may see over the course of 2017.
1Simpler Games Will Emerge
It almost seems counterintuitive to suggest that VR games will become simpler, rather than larger and more complex. But one write-up of possible trends for the year made the interesting point that some more simple games seem ripe for the picking. The article specifically pointed to card battle games and old school RPGs as a few categories that VR developers seem likely to take advantage of. Games like these can thrive by resurrecting familiar experiences that can be played in a sort of VR tabletop format—without requiring the creation of robust 3D environments, or accounting for too much physical action. It could be an easier route for VR developers to take without sacrificing consumer interest or sales.
2Casino Gaming Will Establish A Foothold
We covered card battle games already, but why not other types of card games? It may seem a bit outside the mainstream but casino gaming still thrills a huge number of players all around the world. It may be a more natural fit for VR than you think. As it happens, the internet casino business has already approached the idea of a twist on virtual reality by way of the creation of live dealer games. An overview of casino gaming options describes these as games based on video streaming technology that allow players to stream professional dealers while they play. That’s about as interactive as digital gaming can get, and seems to set the stage nicely for a future transition to VR. There has been one poker game released already—but don’t be surprised to see a much larger exploration of this genre in 2017.
3AR On Mobile Isn’t Done Yet
This isn’t technically connected to the “VR Industry” as we usually think of it—typically involving goggles and headsets—but augmented reality (AR) is still very much a part of this conversation. As this list of ideas about gaming trends for the year ahead pointed out, there are plenty of games on the way looking to imitate the success of Pokémon GO. That doesn’t mean the games will be identical (there have been rumors of a Harry Potter GO about hunting magical creatures), but the idea of using a phone camera to facilitate AR activity hasn’t been tapped out just yet.
4VR Arcades May Emerge
In-home virtual reality gaming seems to be here to stay, but it’s not without its issues. There are still problems related to movement with some games (there’s only so much space to jump around at home), and a lot of average consumers are hesitant to buy the expensive headsets and high-end devices needed to run them. In part because of these issues, another look at possible VR trends predicted that we’d see a rise in VR arcade facilities, in China specifically. But we’re guessing that trend could spread around the world. Virtual reality could represent a new era of arcade gaming where people actually go to a destination to enjoy pay-to-play games that can be even more immersive than those on home headsets.