Does Star Trek VR suggest virtual reality is taking us back to arcades?

 

A notion that should by all means be celebrated in the streets 

Virtual Reality has proven its place in the market over the last few months. With hardware sales matching optimistic expectations and software development coming in from the indies in truckloads we have a serious new twist in the development of the industry occurring all around us. However one thing that has stuck out in the minds of the wary is the price. To run a decent system, you’re looking at a hell of a load of money if you’re not already geared up with the best hardware – and even if you are, it’s a considerable shell out for the top brass headset. However one thing that has been suggested is this heavy initial cost may see the industry return to the model it was founded on, at least for this aspect of gaming, and at least for the period of time before these headsets become affordable for the everyday player – the arcade.

To follow this, we have Ubisoft’s announcement of Star Trek VR, a control panel type action experience that relies heavily on the cooperation of your teammates via multiplayer. In this play mechanic however, we see a difficulty emerging that conflicts with the previous pricing dilemmas of virtual reality technology. The experience offers you and your friends the opportunity to sit behind the control panel of your trusty spaceship, dealing you hands of combat and letting you and your crew decide which action to take and when in the hopes of surviving intact. How are people going to play this game the way it’s meant to be played, when a fairly small number of gamers are actually able to afford the machines to run it on in the first place? If one person has an HTC Vive, it’s unlikely that all their buddies are going to be able to pick one up next time they’re out too. Granted it will work online, and I’m sure the online community would be willing to oblige but I believe it could be so much more local.

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So instead of a home-based title, we may see Star Trek VR take up residence in public play – where we’ll be once again feeding petty change into a machine to spend a few precious minutes in a virtual realm with our mates. It’s a pipe dream but until virtual reality becomes sustainable for the everyday gamer it’s the only reality for such a locally multiplayer focused experience.

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