Virtual reality. That was supposed to be the next big thing in video games. Science fiction media always tells us that we’ll be playing virtual reality pool at a bar instead of the real thing. At the moment, it doesn’t seem very likely. Despite monumental amounts of hype surrounding the launch of “affordable” VR headsets, they never seemed to take off. Todd Howard, however, believes that VR’s day is still to come.
Howard is no newbie to VR. We can play the entirety of Skyrim and Fallout 4 in virtual reality. After endless tech demos, shallow experiences and high-price entry points, the general public seems to have cooled off its interest in strapping screens to its face. Speaking to VentureBeat at Gamelab, Howard argues that VR’s time has not yet come.
“I’m a little more VR than AR” argues Howard. “We did Fallout and Skyrim in VR. We’re just about to enter the second generation of VR. Historically, the third generation is where it starts to become popular.” Indeed, Howard believes that VR will become popular, but the tech and games just aren’t there yet. VR is slowly improving. It’s becoming more comfortable, easier to use and it has a lot more software to play with and use.
Bethesda wants to keep the pressure on game development and VR, by “being ambitious.” This way everyone wins with better, bolder products:
“Playing it safe is the worst way to do things. Morrowind was hard. It was our first time on console. If it didn’t do well, the company was probably out of business. Oblivion was really difficult. We really pushed the tech. I liked that line in the movie Shakespeare in Love: How is this going to work out? I don’t know, but it always does.”
Will we ever get to see mainstream popularity of VR? At the time of writing, it still seems a gimmick to a lot of people. Video games are still something we play with a controller, on a TV, or on our mobile phones. Perhaps the third generation of VR will be great for the medium – Todd Howard and Bethesda certainly hope so.