There is not enough accurate information going around, so I feel like this really needs it's own thread to get things sorted. This needs to be separated into two topics. Why the tech is going to be viable and fix all it's issues, and why VRMMOs will work so well in the first place.
Now this isn't anytime soon. I expect we'll get the first true AAA VRMMOs by 2030 and things will really kick off in the 2030s – so it's going to be quite a wait for sure but I can only see this as the inevitable evolution of the genre.
Plenty of people bring up all the issues of VR and there are definitely quit a few, though there are big misconceptions when people either list issues that have already been fixed or act as if there are issues that can't be solved. You might not be able to solve for the most perfect movement system – as real as reality – until a brain interface, but that will not stop it from working as we've always put up with limitations in gaming – and future VR even without this won't feel limiting.
Things VR has already fixed and things that can be fixed with caveats:
Room space. Back in 2016 most PC VR games were built for room-scale movement and required external cameras around your room. Now most games are built for standing or seated play allowing for small spaces to work just fine – and most headsets now have all their cameras built in.
Price. Next month you can buy a $299 standalone VR headset with a chip that's almost as powerful as an Xbox One – and you require nothing else, no phone, no console, no PC.
Sickness. While it's true that sickness is a problem, there are a lot of comfort options that can either reduce this or eliminate this depending on how far you want to go – and for those willing to go for more expensive headsets like Valve Index, the increased refresh rates can help reduce sickness too.
Things VR is going to fix with
actual prototypes shown right here in this gif.
To sum up the above:
Realistic full body avatars like Ready Player One meaning no more floating hands.
Force feedback haptic gloves to stop your real fingers from moving through virtual objects – can also include textile sensations on the hand for sensation of brushing through tall grass, rain drops, or a spider.
VR/AR hybrid headsets meaning no more isolation – and will additionally allow multi-tasking better than today's PCs due to infinite space to place virtual screens even when inside a VRMMO.
BCI assisted typing if you need to use text chat though this can easily be traded for a keyboard that gets picked up by your VR headset – you'll be able to locate it in your room while in VR.
Sleek ski-goggles style of headset with varifocal displays therefore eliminating visual discomfort – which is something that still happens on a monitor.
Haptics on the headset that are synced with left/right footsteps when moving – affecting the corresponding side of the head to significantly reduce sickness while moving even with no comfort options.
And if ski goggles are still not attractive to you, then this is a
VR sunglasses display prototype showing how smaller it can get even still.
Some other advances on the way would be dynamic foveated rendering to allow VR games to perform just as well as non-VR games despite the current rendering demand, and audio propagation + personal HRTFs for virtual audio that is basically indistuishable from real audio. IE: An in-game cyberpunk club in a sci-fi MMO would sound as if you were at a real club.
At that point, every tech issue that would stop mainstream success is fixed. It's convenient, it's not isolating, it's good for multi-tasking, it's comfortable to wear all day long, and by that point the specs will be ultra high and effectively photorealistic.
I follow the progress of these technologies and insert my own realistic takes, and I expect this to happen by the end of the decade – sunglasses and BCI input maybe a few years longer.
————————Why does a VRMMO make sense?————————
In a nutshell: MMOs are already shared persistent social worlds driven by player agency – or at least that's what a good MMO seeks to do. It's generally agreed upon that the reason why people return to MMOs specifically is the community, and that community is as interesting as it is because of course the people behind it, but also because of how MMOs foster that community – at least when they're not trying to destroy this as some do.
VR is the most social medium there is, but also the most expressive medium. It's this that allows social interactions to be improved in MMOs across the board even if the design is inherently trying to destroy that.
If systems are put in place to automate connections between players, people will still do a lot to seek each other out because every individual is more unique and interesting in VR where body language and true real-time roleplaying can emerge. Instead of a city of idle avatars, everyone will be seen doing something and because your agency is a lot higher you'll see people doing all sorts of things from juggling, street performances, storytelling, playing cards and so on – the frequency will be much higher in VR.
If players can easily breeze through dungeons, they're still going to communicate with each other because there is so much shared body language going on (not to mention spatialized voice chat being the new local/group text chat) and people will bounce off each other, reacting to one another even as mutes via gestures, head nods, high fives, thumbs up, or full on sign language.
So community will be much more apparent and the world itself will feel more alive as a result – but if each individual player has so much more agency, what does this mean for the world and NPCs? They can react to you a lot more – because afterall that's what these systems are built on – layers of sensing player input, and with more input, they can do more things, which means NPCs can, if designed right, feel far more real and natural responding to voice and gestures and such.
VRMMOs will primarily be designed as social worlds first and combat worlds second, so while combat will be part of many of these MMOs, it will be designed for that connection between players which makes it inherently relaxing and not tiresome in the way some people might think about MMOs Combat can and will be incredible but may not be something people do for 10 hours a day. To give an idea of the kind of melee/magic combat you'll see,
. I'm sure it will vary between physics based combat like the above and more linear-designed combat as seen in
To conclude, the tech is going to work, VRMMOs are going to work, and they're going to work so well they will be a lot of people's new real life as I'm already seeing plenty of this with VRChat in these early days. Yes, people actually have sleepovers in VRChat so that's pretty much their life now.
It's not a soon thing, but it will happen and people skeptic about this are going to be incredibly surprised at what it offers and feels like.
Source: Original link
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