20 Jan Video games and virtual reality: everything to know
The video game industry has experienced unprecedented expansion in recent years, resulting in a true revolution destined to change the overall gameplay experience forever. The combination of video games and virtual reality in particular is becoming more and more valid in the video game universe. In today’s article we’ll explore all the secrets of this technological innovation with a touch of science fiction.
The number of users who choose to spend their free time playing a video game has significantly increased: recently, in fact, the total number of active gamers has reached the incredible figure of 3.09 billion – almost half of the entire world population!
The many new products regularly launched on the market help to increase the curiosity of gamers and bring more and more people to the console for the first time. One of the most anticipated (and controversial) novelties is definitely virtual reality, which promises a new gaming experience where gamers are entirely immersed in their surroundings, literally becoming the protagonist of the game.
If our previous articles haven’t satisfied all your curiosities, and if the combination of video games and virtual reality fascinates you and you’d like to learn more about it, in today’s article we’ll dive deep into all the most important aspects of this complex world.
The basics: what is virtual reality
When it comes to video games and virtual reality, it’s important not to assume that all users know exactly what it is.
In fact, the concept of virtual reality is still foreign to the general population, as the technology is still in its infancy and is little known. So before we recount the latest developments related to video games and virtual reality, let’s start with the basics.
As we’ve already mentioned, virtual reality lets players project themselves into the game scenario, controlling the characters through their own body movements.
In order to take full advantage of the wonders of virtual reality, those playing must have the appropriate accessories: the essential headset, which is worn like a motorcycle helmet, and physical sensors that allow to map and detect the movements of players in real space, so as to faithfully transfer into the virtual one, and lastly, specific controllers optimised to ensure maximum efficiency during VR games.
These three key accessories create an unprecedented degree of realism: players are teleported into the game world through the headsets, seeing only what the protagonist sees and being able to transfer their movements into the virtual world.
However, it’s important to note that of the three tools mentioned above, the sensors may not always be present. Although movements are often detected by a camera on the game console, sometimes they’re not included, especially when playing with headsets that incorporate all the necessary accessories.
The most popular headsets
Which headsets are the most popular and most widely used for enjoying video games and virtual reality to the fullest?
Certainly one of the most well-known VR headsets is Meta’s Oculus. The first in the series, Oculus Rift S, necessarily requires a PC to play, while the latest update, Oculus Quest 2, can also be used simply with a smartphone.
Meta has also developed its own store where you can download and purchase games developed specifically for Oculus headsets: SteamVR, a true virtual reality platform.
Another well-known and popular headset is Valve Index, one of the first available on the market, in addition to Sony’s well-known PSVR which, however, is only compatible with PlayStation 4 and 5.
Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality also deserves special mention, a virtual reality platform compatible only with Windows 10 and 11, and the Viveport virtual reality headset.
In short: when it comes to video games and virtual reality, whether on consoles or PCs, you are truly spoilt for choice.
Video games and virtual reality, watch your wallet
Although tempting, VR headsets can’t yet be considered a popular and legitimised game mode for a simple reason: this greatly praised innovation has extremely high costs, a factor that contributes to virtual reality still being a “niche” field.
In fact, the price of a headset can easily exceed €1,000. However, the situation has slowly been changing in recent years: the huge demand for the devices (aided in part by the pandemic crisis, which has given the gaming market a new boom in general) has led to the launch of headsets in different categories and price ranges.
In fact, some VRs have recently been sold at prices even lower than 200 euros, allowing a larger segment of the population to experience video games and virtual reality. A clarification is in order here. Although the less expensive headsets will generally offer the same features as the high-end devices, the overall performance will significantly vary depending on the price: the lack of external sensors, a larger weight and size, and most importantly, the absence of a specific platform where new content can be downloaded and purchased could have a major impact on the overall gaming experience.
In recent years, as the pool of users and gamers who regularly use virtual reality headsets has grown, curiosity about the possible health effects of this new technology has also grown.
Comprehensive studies on the effects of virtual reality headsets and games have not yet been conducted. However, several experts agree that prolonged exposure to an “imaginary reality” can particularly fatigue the eyes, which are constantly subjected to stimuli that are not real (resulting in fatigued synapses, forced to adapt to situations that seem real but are not).
This situation could lead to several problems, chief among them so-called motion sickness, the nausea caused by virtual movement and due to decreased eyelid movements while wearing the headset, among other things.
Possible solutions? Firstly, don’t play for too many hours in a row, trying to take regular breaks between sessions; second, adjust screen brightness and contrast; and most importantly, get outdoors after a video game and virtual reality session, to give both your eyes and brain a chance to get used to “real reality”.
Video games and virtual reality: conclusions
The connection between video games and virtual reality, a once sci-fi and futuristic union, has become increasingly concrete and accessible over the years thanks to the rise of VR headsets, which captivate millions of gamers worldwide.
To be able to make the most of this industry and win over gamers, however, it’s fundamental to pay attention to the language aspect: as we have already recounted in the past, it’s important to localise a game for the target market with the utmost care to ensure that it is played, understood, and enjoyed as much as possible.
If you work in the video game industry and would like to localise a video game for foreign countries, contact us obligation free: we’ll be happy to work out the best solution for your needs along with you.