Game Room of the Future with Virtual Reality
There was a time, not too long ago, when the most impressive feature of a game room would have been the table tennis or the foosball table. The game room was limited to families that not only had the money to spare on expensive game room equipment but the physical space to accommodate them.
Now, with all of the advancements of modern technology in recent years, any family living room can be quickly transformed into a game room with little more than a push of a power button. The traditional game room snooker table has long been replaced with the living room Nintendo Wii. And soon, there’ll be an Oculus Rift in every family home.
For now, all of these virtual reality gadgets are still a little beyond our reach for the average household. But they’re still reasonably affordable for the hardcore gaming enthusiast who can’t wait to get their hands on them. And like many of the game consoles that we’ve seen fade in and out of our tech-obsessed existence, virtual reality game consoles will eventually (and undoubtedly) become another thing that we will someday also take for granted, quickly forgetting how they were once nothing more than an awesome fantasy.
Look at video games: 30 years ago, a handful of pixels thrown up on the screen would have created a fully immersive gaming experience for the player. To the current generation who were raised on benchmarking gameplay graphics by Crysis comparison, this is laughable. 1080p isn’t even enough for us anymore; we need a fully 3-dimensional immersive experience where we can truly escape our mundane realities and adventure through virtual worlds so realistic you could just reach out and touch the particles.
It’s actually crazy how far ahead we are in virtual reality gaming, unbeknown to the casual consumer. The Virtuix Omni, said to be the perfect accompaniment to the Oculus Rift, is an omni-directional treadmill compatible with the Oculus Rift. Once you’re all strapped in, you can freely move around your game as you please. Walking, crouching, jumping… Tech like this truly has the potential of bridging the physical world with the many virtual ones already at our fingertips. With an unparalleled sense of immersion that is going to one day revolutionise mainstream gaming as we know it. (And maybe even eradicate that stereotype of gamers being Dorito-crunching basement dwellers who never get off their butts because they’re forever in-game. Can you imagine the workout? Screw the Wii Fit!)
In a way, the Wii revolutionized family gaming, taking the average family away from board games and handing them all Wiimotes instead. Sure, it ain’t exactly hardcore gaming but it has made video games far more accessible to the general population. Try explaining Starcraft 2 to your mother and she probably wouldn’t get it. Wii Sports is a little easier to explain than E-sports. Not to mention what games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have done for the general public perception of gaming, even before the Wii was introduced to the market. Guitar Hero allowed anyone with a TV and a game console to turn their living room or bedroom into a live music venue! Now imagine in future a first person virtual reality version of that game, where you can walk around the stage and look out into the crowd. Nintendo Wii has certainly shown us that using props as game controllers doesn’t start and finish with musical instruments. Their time hasn’t even come yet. When you’re holding a baton in your hand and seeing a sword through your virtual reality headset, that’s when you’ll know that virtual reality is well and truly here. Ubisoft have even announced that they will start releasing virtual reality games as early as 2016.
Virtual reality games are just around the corner, and this is where the future of the game room lies. The family game room of the future isn’t reserved for the wealthy; it’s the family living room. Statistics throughout recent years have shown that more and more families are opting for open-plan living, even getting rid of the family dining room to create more social space. The average household no longer wants dedicated rooms for dining or gaming; they want a multi-functional social area. The game room is dead. But it’s okay, you can build a virtual one in Unity3D if you really want to….