(Thanks to Adam Coate for the tip!)
In August of last year we ran a story where some discussion of VR had hit the mainstream again thanks to John Carmack’s keynote address at QuakeCon 2012. The Stinger Report’s Kevin Williams shared his thoughts with us about the keynote and the progression of the technology. A lot of this with VR has possible applications with the current amusement sector, in fact it wasn’t long ago that we ran stories discussing a brand new VR application that is hitting the market now by the name of Sci-Shooter by MoCap Games. We also can’t forget the Scale-1 RobotFrag which was released this past October.
Today I was sent a link to a panel discussion on a device that was successfully Kickstarted called the Oculus Rift[official website here]. This is something Mr. Carmack was excited about last year. While some of the discussion revolves around OR VR headset will work in a home space on a PC (the only platform it will support at first), they do get to a point where the discussion turns to how the technology can or will affect arcades. In fact around 18:30 in to this panel, they talk about devices to offer how you control the experience. That is one place where arcades can easily jump into, the aforementioned MoCap Sci-Shooter already showing off some of that potential. After that discussion continues into the ideas of what can be done, somethings are probably not going to be viable at home and around 27 min in it is actually mentioned the idea of next-generation arcades using omnidirectional treadmills with things like the Oculus Rift (this actually has been tried to a degree, check out the Virtusphere which was seen at a couple of IAAPA trade shows although I don’t think I saw it last year). Chris Roberts even mentions a full simulator type cockpit his team is designing which would turn heads in the amusement industry. Last year at IAAPA there was an explosion of up-start companies who were trying to do a professional race car motion simulator. But part of the problem was that every single company I saw with a simulator platform was pushing racing games like the technology could only be used for one thing. A space cockpit game would stand out in that crowd without even trying. Here’s hoping that someone in the amusement sector can jump on this while the iron is still hot and take what it brings to the table to a level most easily reached through the arcade space.
Here’s the full panel discussion with Palmer Luckey, Chris Roberts, Paul Bettner and Cliff Bleszinski;
Moderated by Nate Mitchell
For reference, here’s the Sci-Shooter as seen at EAG2013 in January (which does not use the Oculus Rift but does use a unique body sensor system, something they kind of talk about in the panel discussion)